E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

A boy helps a friendly alien return home.

Released in 1982, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is one of the most beloved films of all time (for very good reason), as well as is a film containing quite of few food moments, making it another ideal selection for a food & a film feature.

The first appearance of food comes eight minutes into the film when we see cans of Coca-Cola and Fresca, as well as a bowl of potato chips on the table as a group of boys play Dungeons and Dragons. One of the boys is snacking from the bowl of potato chips, and as he eats, remarks to the group, “How about throwing a spell over the pizza man. Where’s our pizza, man?” Elliot (Henry Thomas) asks one of the older boys, “Steve, can I play now?,” and Steve responds, “Go wait for the pizza first.” As Elliot goes to wait for the pizza, another boy calls to him, “Plenty of sausage. And pepperonis!,” and the boy eating chips adds, “Everything but the little fishies..” Once Elliot retrieves the pizza from the delivery driver, he brings it up the driveway, but gets distracted by something rummaging around in the shed. The pizza is then left on the ground in the backyard after Elliot drops and then trips on it while running inside to tell his mom about the shed disturbance. When Elliot’s mom, Mary (Dee Wallace) and the rest of the boys join Elliot back outside, they discover the destroyed pizza with its cheese and toppings stuck to the underside of the top of the pizza box.  Mary upon seeing the pizza says, “A pizza! Who said you guys could order a pizza, huh?”

The next appearance of food comes just a few minutes later when we see Elliot with a one pound bag of Reese’s Pieces. Elliot pours some candy from the bag into the palm of his hand, takes the handful and begins to scatter Reese’s Pieces in hopes to lure E.T..

Following this first Reese’s Pieces moment, the next appearance of food is a dinner scene between Elliot, Mary, Elliot’s brother, Michael (Robert MacNaughton), and his sister, Gertie (Drew Barrymore). On the table is a large wooden salad bowl, a bread basket, a plate of what looks like cooked carrots, and a few condiments including bottles of salad dressing and ketchup. Everyone has a plate of food containing some kind of meat, which we see Gertie chewing on at one point in the scene, and sides including a baked potato (judging by the tinfoil), as well as a personal bowl of side salad. Michael and Elliot have glasses of milk and the ladies have mugs.

Following the dinner scene, we then have another appearance of Reese’s Pieces when E.T. drops a handful of them onto Elliot’s comforter as an offering of friendship! Elliot then uses the candy as a breadcrumb trail for E.T. to lure him up to his bedroom. Once E.T. is upstairs, Elliot goes to give E.T. an apple from his desk, but gets sidetracked when E.T. starts tearing through Elliot’s room inspecting objects. We then see Reese’s Pieces again when Keys discovers them out in the woods.

We cut back to Elliot’s room where Elliot picks up an empty can of Coke off of his workspace table and explains to E.T., “ Coke. See, we drink it. It’s, uh…It’s a drink. You know, food?”

Elliot continues to teach E.T., “See, this is Pez. Candy. You see, you eat it. You put the candy in here, and when you lift the head, the candy comes out. You want some?” Elliot then picks up his peanut-shaped coin back telling E.T., “This is a peanut. You eat it. But you can’t eat this one ’cause this is fake.” When Elliot then shows E.T. a toy car, E.T. tries to eat it before Elliot stops him, telling him, “No. You don’t eat ’em. Are you hungry? I’m hungry.”

Elliot then leaves E.T. in his room while he goes to the kitchen to get food. We then cut to Elliot opening the fridge and beginning to stock up on food and drink for E.T.. As Elliot removes a plate of baked potatoes, he says to himself, “He’ll like this.” We then see a close up of Elliot unscrewing the lid to a jar of Skippy peanut butter in the fridge. In this shot we can also see a carton of milk, containers of Yoplait lemon-flavored yogurt, and cans of Coca-Cola on the same shelf as the peanut butter. Elliot then takes a block of cheddar cheese and a carton of cherry tomatoes from another shelf in the fridge. We can also see another Yoplait yogurt  (although it is a different flavor and has different packaging) as well as a butter dish and a tub of sour cream. In yet another shot of the fridge we can see larger tubs of Yoplait, as well as cans of V8 Juice. Elliot is then startled and drops the newly acquired food and drink on the kitchen floor. We see a close up of the carton of milk spilling out onto the floor, as well as a couple of baked potatoes.

We then cut to Elliot bringing plates of food and cans of Coca-Cola into his room. Although it is difficult to see exactly what is on the plates, it is pretty clear that potato chips are one of the food items (possibly the only item). Elliot then asks E.T., “Wanna Coke?” We then see Michael comes home from school, check the fridge and take a Coke for himself.

The next food moment in the film occurs several moments later in Elliot’s room where E.T. is snacking from a platter of foods. While watching E.T. scarf down snacks, Gertie asks, “Is he a pig? He sure eats like one.” We then cut to a shot that allows a slightly better view of the platter and there are clearly some fruits and vegetables on it including apples, carrots, celery, lettuce and tomatoes.

The refrigerator is featured again when E.T. is home alone and decides to inspect its contents. E.T. first picks up a tub of potato salad, tastes it, and then discards it on the floor. He then proceeds to chug a can of Coors beer before following it up with another.

We then revisit the refrigerator when Mary comes home and begins to unload a bag of groceries. In addition to placing groceries in the fridge, Mary also unloads multiple bags of produce to put in the fruit basket on the kitchen table, which already has some bananas and apples in it.

Following the grocery unpacking, the final notable food or drink moments in the film consist of Mary putting a carton of milk in the fridge, and a few minutes later, holding a mug or presumably coffee or tea. I think it is worth noting that the first half of the film is filled with a ton of food moments compared to the second half of the film, which only has a couple in the very beginning and virtually none in the film’s final 45 minutes.

For my E.T.-inspired vegan menu, I chose to include a sausage and pepperoni-topped pizza with a side of potato chips.

For dessert, no E.T.-themed menu would be complete without some Reese’s Pieces; however, since this particular candy is not vegan, I opted to make my own Reese’s Pieces bag using a copy of a wrapper from the ‘80s. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a vegan version of Reese’s Pieces currently on the market, but there are definitely a bunch of vegan options for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, which are preferable anyway, in my humble opinion. Then for my beverage, I went with the forever classic can of Coca-Cola.

And finally, for the table setting, I found a red sweatshirt fabric that looks like the one used for Elliot’s iconic hoodie to use as a tablecloth, as well as crafted my own flower pot of mums to match the one in the film.

And that does it for September’s installment of food & a film! Thank you so much for tuning in, and be sure to check back next month for another new entry!

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