Guest blog by Beth Accomando
Read her awesome blog at www.kpbs.org/cinemajunkie
When Bonkers Ass Cinema Tweeted about a Charles Bronson Marathon in which 30 of Bronson’s films would be paired with beer, I felt like a gauntlet had been thrown down and I needed to match each of Matt’s drink selections with some sort of food item that was thematically linked to the films.
For five years I have been concocting themed desserts to go with the films I screen as part of Film Geeks San Diego so now I automatically just start thinking about appropriate food for any screening occasion that comes up and Matt’s challenge could not be ignored.
So each week I will provide food ideas to go with each of the daily Bronson film selections. Most of his films deal with revenge and betrayal but I tried to come up with some food items that played off of different ideas because there’s only so much revenge I can serve up cold. I’ll serve up recipes and try to cook as many of the 30 recipes I can in the coming weeks. Some are obvious but I may have to offer explanations for others because in researching the films I discovered fun trivia.
I am hoping to close out the month with a Film Geeks Living Room Edition where I can actually serve some of the food for people in town to actually eat. Here is the menu for the first week:
April 1: Death Hunt (1981)
In this film Bronson plays trapper Albert Johnson who rescues a white German Shepherd named Sitka from an organized dogfight. The story also references a “mad trapper” who is a serial killer that steals his victims gold teeth. So my dessert pairing for this film is Sitka’s White Chocolate and Cocoa Nibs Dog Biscuits and Mad Trapper’s Gold Tooth Sugar Cookies.
April 2: Breakheart Pass (1975)
An outbreak of diphtheria at Fort Humboldt sets the plot in motion here. A train is sent out with medical supplies, relief troops, and an odd assortment of characters: a governor (Richard Crenna), his mistress (Jill Ireland), a marshal (Ben Johnson) and his prisoner (Charles Bronson).
Since the film is set in the 1870s, about a half century before penicillin was invented, I suggest making a robust garlic dip since garlic is nature’s penicillin and might keep everyone in contact with the film free of the disease. Let’s call it the Fort Humboldt Diphtheria Cure Dip. Plus this is an incredibly simple recipe that requires just raw garlic, lemon juice, canola oil and a pinch of salt all whipped up in a food processor and you get an elixir that can cure just about anything plus keep vampires away…although I don’t think you will encounter any of those in a Bronson film.
April 3: Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989)
This film involves a Japanese businessman, an LA cop, and the two men’s daughters. At one point Hiroshi Hada, the Japanese man, comes to the home of Lt. Crowe (Bronson) to thank him for his help.
A typical Japanese gift for such an occasion might be butter cookies known as Hato Sabure and shaped like a dove. The gift in the film came with some origami paper cranes and you can make those to go with your cookies just be careful of color choice since in Japanese culture red can be associated with death and funerals. Similarly black can be negative. But green can mean eternity and good luck while purple is a festive color for celebrations so either of those would work.
Here’s the recipe:
1½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 large egg (at room temperature)
1 tsp baking powder
Sift the flour and baking powder. In a mixer combine sugar and butter in the bowl.Beat on high speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the beaten egg and mix to combine. Add the flour and baking powder and mix on low speed until flour is incorporated. Roll the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F. Roll out the dough on lightly floured surface, to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out the dough around the dove shape. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown, about 15 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack before wrapping as the perfect thank you gift to Charles Bronson.
April 4: Act of Vengeance (1986)
Bronson plays a miner in this film, and I suggest making the popular lunch of miners known as a pepperoni roll. It’s a bit like a calzone and features a soft dough (you can take the quick route and buy some Pillsbury crescent dough) with pepperoni and a little tomato sauce. Pepperoni won’t spoil in a miner’s lunchbucket down in the mines. I call this one Jock’s Pepperoni Miner’s Roll. All Recipes has this one for traditional pepperoni rolls
April 5: Death Wish (1974)
The first Death Wish film is all about vigilante justice and a father taking the law into his own hands to deliver justice, not only to the men who harmed his family but also to any hoodlum who crosses his path in New York. For this launch to the Death Wish franchise enjoy the satisfying taste of your very own, unlicensed Vengeance is Mine Gun Cookies. I find the best recipe for sugar cookies comes from Warp Zone.
*You can also make them chocolate and this is my go to chocolate rolled cookie recipe from Chocolate, Chocolate and More.
April 6: Violent City (1970)
This film involves an assassin, a double cross, and a New Orleans setting. New Orleans is known for its delicious food and one trademark dessert is the pecan pie. So try this Deadly Chocolate Rum Pecan Pie that makes you think it’s just your standard pecan pie but then the rum and chocolate sneak up like a deadly assassin to betray those first instincts. I go with Martha Stewart’s basic chocolate pecan pie recipe but use ½ cup dark Karo, ½ cup light corn syrup, and ¼ cup rum (to be true to the film’s setting you can use Old New Orleans rum) and use unsweetened chocolate instead of semi-sweet because death and betrayal are bitter things.
April 7: The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Bronson plays Bernardo in this American western remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. Bronson is one of the magnificent seven gunslingers that take on the thankless task of defending a small village from greedy bandits. Bernardo connects with the poverty stricken villagers so pair this film with Bernardo’s Burritos, which, out of respect to the peasants who have so little, it’s just rice and beans with some spicy peppers to reflect the heat Bronson brought to the screen.