Guest post by Beth Accomando. Check out Cinema Junkie, her awesome blog and podcast here!
"Wham! Bam! Here comes Pam!"
Damn I miss taglines like that. And it didn’t stop there. That was all they could fit on the poster for Friday Foster but the TV and radio ads embellished even more:
“Thank God - - It's Friday! She's out to score for more of what you love her for! She's a fascinatin' assassinatin' high-livin', fun-lovin' chick!. . . and the company she's keepin' is mighty heavy!”
Which brings me to Beer n' Grier.
Last year I foolishly signed on to Bonkers Ass Cinema’s Beer n’ Bronson, a marathon for which I volunteered to come up with 30 days of food themed to the films Matt picked. I enjoyed it because the films were great and I love a food challenge but making themed food every day for 30 days was grueling.
Then in January someone asked about a much-anticipated sequel to Beer n’ Bronson and I suggested Grier n' Beer had a nice ring to it. Mercifully, Matt is only doing a week of Pam Grier films and not a whole month and I will be pairing mostly desserts with the 7 films of Beer and Grier planned.
Day 1: Sheba Baby (1975)
“Hotter 'N' Coffy, meaner 'N' Foxy Brown, Pam Grier is Sheba, Baby, Queen of the Private Eyes.”
Grier is a private eye in Chicago but she heads home to Louisville, Kentucky when her dad is being strong-armed by thugs. She gets to have gun fights, knife fights, and fist fights; foot chases and car chases; threatens someone with getting hot waxed in a car wash; rides a jet ski and drives a speed boat; and even harpoons someone while sporting Gucci and Louis Vuitton. She could do everything plus she was smart, sexy and didn’t have to get tied down to just one man. So the perfect role model for the teenage me.
It was the 70s and these were B movies so as the Stanislavski-inspired Grier once put it she was doing “Chekov in a wet t-shirt.” Whatever embarrassing moments there might be in her films the only thing we remember and what she perfectly embodies is a powerful Black woman that you do not want to piss off. (Hey Matt are we doing a Joe Bob-style body count for these films? Or drinking game for each person she kills?)
*Editor's note from Matt: That's not a bad idea. I get really cocky about math after a few beers...
Since Sheba Shayne is a private eye I decided to do some investigating to find the right food pairing for the film. Kentucky is famous for Derby Pie but the official Derby Pie from the Kern’s family restaurant has been kept a secret for 60 years with only designated family members allowed in the mixing room where the ingredients are combined to make 800 pies a day. I wonder if family members have to fly in separate planes like the president and VP so the recipe remains safe. The family sues anyone who dares call anything “Derby Pie” so we are risking a cease and desist order to call this themed dessert the In Your Face Sheba Baby Cat Fight Derby Pie (and yes Sheba does grab a pie to slam in the face of a white chick she randomly picks a fight with).
So the authentic Derby Pie is walnuts and chocolate with no bourbon but my friend who lived in Kentucky shared this recipe and told me, “Restaurants in Kentucky serve Chocolate Pecan Pie just to fuck with Kern’s.” And on the note of making any changes to the recipes she said sure but “Don’t fuck with anything other than bourbon, though. Kentucky bourbon. That’s just wrong.”
So to make this pie more in line with Blaxploitation and to fully honor Pam, this In Your Face Sheba Baby Cat Fight Derby Pie has a chocolate crust.
My Kentucky friend also recommended another Louisville specialty: It’s called the Kentucky Hot Brown. It’s a heart stopper like Pam and she sure is hot brown. It’s cheese, bacon, heavy cream, and turkey breast. In honor of Pam there will be an excess of breast.
Day 2: Scream Blacula Scream (1973)
“Pam Grier, that Coffy spitfire is a voodoo priestess now!”
Grier is third-billed in this film so that means William Marshall gets more screen time than her but she is a voodoo priestess. I could have gone with some Haitian Vodou inspired food but that was a bit challenging on quarantine so I went for the vampire horror and made some vampire bite cookies in Caucasian and Black skin tones as well as Count Blacula’s coffin with some voodoo bones for decoration.