Four sisters are each determined to live life on their own terms.
Released in 2019, Greta Gerwig’s superb film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s treasured novel Little Women is an ideal film to watch during the holiday season, seeing as it contains multiple comforting scenes set at Christmastime. Seeing as many of these Christmastime scenes feature food, it is pretty clear why this delectably delightful film is offering us a sweet end to the year as this December’s food & a film feature.
The very first food or drink moment in Little Women occurs just over ten minutes into the film when we follow Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) into a beer hall where we see patrons holding beer steins, as well as a waiter carrying a tray of bratwurst sandwiches. We then see food and drink again during the Gardiner’s New Year’s Party where attendees have drinks in their hands, and we also see Jo pop something into her mouth (a cranberry, a nut, candy?) while talking to Laurie (Timothée Chalamet). We then follow Jo and Laurie back to The March Residence where Marmee (Laura Dern) apologizes to Laurie for the chaos, explaining, “I enjoy baking in the middle of the night.,” and proceeds to give him a scone. Then several minutes further into the film we see guests with champagne flutes at a New Year’s party in Paris where Laurie drunkenly spills champagne.
Then about a half an hour into the film we watch the March ladies sit down for Christmas breakfast and we can see an absolute array of foods littering the dining table including small doughnuts, cake and poached pears. Beth (Eliza Scanlen) exclaims, “I’m so hungry.,” while Meg (Emma Watson) excitedly remarks, “Look at this breakfast!,” and Jo announces, “I could eat a horse.” Marmee then says to her girls, “Not far from here lives a poor young woman, Mrs. Hummel. Her five children are in one bed to keep from freezing, and there is nothing to eat. My girls, will you give them your breakfast as a Christmas present?”
We then watch the March women set out to deliver their Christmas present to the Hummel Family and we then cut to Christmas breakfast at the Laurence Household where the men are seated at the dining table with food on their plates, although it is difficult to make out what they are eating. We then cut back to the March women who once arriving at the Hummel Residence, begin to unpack the breakfast. Then freezing, but happy, the women return home and are immediately greeted by the most spectacular spread including a giant serving dish topped with scoops of pink ice cream, as well as a meringue cookies, Turkish Delight, and a multitude of cakes and various pastries. We then see the March sisters begin to pick at the feast, and Hannah informs them that Mr. Laurence saw them giving their Christmas breakfast away and that he wanted for them to enjoy the day.
The next scene to feature food is a breakfast scene at the March House where we see Jo eating a buttered slice of bread, Meg peeling a hard-boiled egg and there is also what looks like a bowl of porridge on the table. We then see both food and drinks onscreen when Meg is attending the Debutante Ball, as well as see food when Amy (Florence Pugh) is painting a still life of fruit in a studio while in Paris. We also see grapes during the group beach scene, as well as tea and tea cakes when Aunt March (Meryl Streep) is having her afternoon tea. We also hear Marmee request a clear broth for a sick Beth, as well as see a modest breakfast including tea and fruit on the kitchen table of the March home.
The next major appearance of food occurs during another Christmastime scene where the March sisters are making garlands, and we see Amy spill a bowl of what looks like popcorn due to the sheer excitement of seeing her father. We then get a scene of The March and Laurence Families sitting down for Christmas dinner with everyone drinking red wine, although it is quite tricky to see exactly what everyone is eating.
We then get another notable appearance of food and drink during Meg’s wedding reception where we see guests drinking and mingling, and we can see an assortment of foods on a banquet table, although again it is difficult to see what exactly is being served. Then we see food onscreen again when Marmee brings a tray of food up to Jo while she is writing in the attic, although once again, aside from an apple, it is unclear what the additional food is on the tray.
And lastly, the final food and drink moments in the film include a steaming teacup on Mr. Dashwood’s desk; Jo ripping off a piece of bread from a loaf and taking a bite; the March dining table set with glasses of wine and topped with serving dishes of food; dessert in the March living room, consisting of what looks like cake, cookies, and fruit; drinks at Mr. Dashwood’s house (a teacup in front of his wife and a spirit for him); and finally, Marmee’s autumnal birthday cake.
For my Little Women-inspired menu, I decided to prepare a quaint Christmas feast consisting of a vegan roast, accompanied by an array of sweet treats including pink peppermint ice cream, meringue cookies, Turkish Delight, bundt cakes dusted in powdered sugar and raspberries.
Then for my beverage, I opted for a cozy cup of tea.
And finally, for the place setting, I selected a fabric inspired by the film’s art direction to use as a tablecloth, as well as dressed up the table with festive greenery and hypericum berries.
And that concludes the final post for 2021! Thank you so much for tuning in, and be sure to check back in January for the very first entry of 2022! Until then, have a happy and healthy end to the year. Thank you for supporting food & a film!