A prince cursed to live as a beast hopes to earn the love of a young woman who longs for a different life.
Released in 1991, Beauty and the Beast is one of the most food-filled films of all the Disney animated classics and the most recent one to be featured here on food & a film.
The very first food moment in the film occurs just a few moments in when we see a man with bread as Belle sings, “There goes the baker with his tray like always, The same old bread and rolls to sell.” We then see the baker go up to the boulangerie window and yell, “Marie, the baguettes! Hurry Up!” As Belle continues to sing the opening musical number we see a woman picking up some meat from the butcher stall, as well as another woman with a lot of kids in tow desperately telling a man holding a bowl of eggs, “I need 6 eggs.” We then see a woman (possibly Marie?) with a cart full of baguettes. During this opening number, Belle walks through the marketplace where we see a multitude of foods including a large cake, linked sausages, fish, grapes, wheels of cheese, bags of flour and a bowl of apples.
The next appearance of food or drink occur when Maurice arrives at the Beast’s castle and Mrs. Potts, an enchanted teapot asks him, “How would you like a nice spot of tea, sir? It’ll warm you up in no time.” We then see her pour tea into an enchanted teacup (Chip), as well as see Maurice drink some tea.
After the tea moment at the castle, the next appearance of food or drink occurs when Gaston attempts to wed Belle and we see that he has commissioned the Baker to make a wedding cake, as well as made sure there are bottles of chilled champagne and champagne coupes.
Following the wedding that never was, the next scene to feature appearances of food and drink occurs at a tavern where we see lots of beer sloshing around in pewter tankards. During this scene, Gaston sings “When I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs, Every morning to help me get large, And now that I’m grown I eat five dozen eggs, So I’m roughly the size of a barge.” While Gaston sings this we see him juggle a bunch of eggs before swallowing all of them whole.
Following the scene at the tavern we see Mrs. Potts come to comfort Belle who is crying in her new bedroom. Mrs. Potts enters the room with Chip, as well a cream pitcher and sugar pot, and says to Belle, I thought you’d might like a pot of tea. Mrs. Potts then pours tea into Chip as the sugar bowl takes a spoonful of sugar from itself and stirs it into the tea while the pitcher pours in some milk. Belle then takes a sip of tea before Chip proceeds to show her how he can blow bubbles.
We then cut to the Beast pacing in front of the fire waiting for Belle to join him for dinner, and we can quickly see the dining table in the bottom right hand corner of the frame, which is topped with an array of food dishes. When Belle refuses to join the Beast for dinner, the Beast furiously declares, “If she doesn’t eat with me then she doesn’t eat at all.”
We then cut to the kitchen where the Stove bemoans, “I work and I slave all day, and for what? A culinary masterpiece gone to waste. Once Belle enters the kitchen, Cogsworth asks if there is anything they can do to make her stay any more comfortable, and Belle tells him, “I am a little hungry.” Excited, Mrs. Potts says, “You are? Hear that? She’s hungry. Stoke the fire, break out the silver, wake the China.” Cogsworth then says secretively says to his enchanted peers, “Remember what the master said.,” to which Mrs, Potts replies, “Oh, pish tosh. I’m not going to let the poor child go hungry.” Cogsworth hesitantly complies saying, “Oh, all right. Glass of water, crust of bread,” and Lumière cuts in, “Cogsworth, I am surprised at you. She’s not our prisoner. She’s our guest. We must make her feel welcome here.” As Lumière leads Belle into the dining room, the swinging door hits Cogsworth and sends him flying across the kitchen into a pan filled with batter.
Once in the dining room Lumière motions to a collection silver platters covered with silver cloches that appear on the dining table, lit with a spotlight. Lumière then begins the musical number “Be Our Guest,” which is a fine dining-themed number featuring many mentions of food. As we see the soup of the day being poured for Belle, Lumière sings, “Soup du jour, hot hors d’oeuvres, Why we only live to serve, Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious, Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes!” As Lumière sings this part, he removes a silver cloche from a platter and offers Belle an assortment of hors d’oeuvres. At Lumière’s suggestion, Belle takes a fingerful of the “grey stuff” and tastes it.
Lumière then offers Belle a menu and dishes begin to parade out as he continues singing, “Beef ragout, cheese soufflé, Pie and pudding en flambé! We’ll prepare and serve with flair, A culinary cabaret! Belle tastes a fingerful of the beef ragout, as well as eats a cherry from the top of the pie.
We then see spoons diving into a punch bowl filled with pink liquid as if they are Esther Williams, and beer stein mugs filled with beer, singing and doing gymnastics. We also see salt shakers creating snow, as well as rolling wine bottles. Mrs. Potts then takes over singing a verse, “With dessert, she’ll want tea, And my dear, that’s fine with me! While the cups do their soft shoeing, I’ll be bubbling, I’ll be brewing!
As the number continues we see Belle joyfully swaying in her seat as a selection of desserts and a bottle of wine dance in front of her. In addition to the desserts in from of Belle, we see enchanted dinnerware dancing on fancy tiered cakes and the musical number ends with an assemblage of pink champagne bottles exploding.
After “Be Our Guest,” we cut back Gaston’s tavern, where we see Gaston and Lefou drinking beer.
Following this, the next appearance of food or drink comes when Belle and Beast have breakfast together. We see a close up of a pot of sugar spooning sugar onto a bowl of porridge and a pitcher of milk pouring milk into the bowl as well. Belle then tastes a spoonful of her breakfast and on the table we see her bowl of porridge, the pitcher of milk, bowl of sugar, a goblet, and a basket covered with a napkin presumably containing bread/pastries. After we see Belle eat a spoonful of her breakfast, we cut to Beast as he devours his breakfast straight out of the bowl sans spoon and table manners for that matter. At Mrs. Potts and Chip’s suggestion, Beast tries to eat with a spoon, but has little success. Belle then puts down her spoon and lifts her bowl. The Beast does the same and the two gesture with their bowls like they are toasting before beginning to sip straight from their bowls.
The next scene to feature food is the second and final dining scene between Belle and Beast, but this time instead of breakfast, the two are having dinner. Additionally, this time around we see Beast has learned to eat with a spoon as he politely sips his spoonful of soup. On the dining table with see an array of dishes; however, it is difficult to tell exactly what everything is in the wide shot of the table. In the shots that are closer to the table, we can see salt and pepper shakers, glasses of wine, possibly a plate of artichokes, as well as various desserts.
And finally the last food or drink moment in the film occurs when Mrs. Potts and some of her teacup children pour hot tea onto the castle intruders.
For my Beauty and the Beast-inspired vegan menu, I chose to recreate the hors d’oeuvres platter that Lumière presents Belle with during “Be Our Guest,” complete with “the grey stuff.”
And for beverages, I included a coupe of pink champagne, as well as a cup of tea (that we’ll pretend was poured by Mrs. Potts).
Finally, for the table setting, I found a yellow fabric similar to the one used for Belle’s ballgown to use as a tablecloth. I also chose to have a candelabra on the table as a nod to Lumière, and of course no Beauty and the Beast-inspired table setting would be complete without a rose.
And that does it for another installment of food & a film! Thank you so much for tuning in, and be sure to subscribe if you would like to be notified of new blog posts in the future!