Meal and a Movie: Meet Me in St. Louis
A friend introduced me to Meet Me in St. Louis about twenty years ago. One of the most beautiful movies ever made with possibly the greatest soundtrack ever, it quickly moved to the top of my Christmas movie repertoire. It doesn't feel like Christmas until I've sung along with Judy and the gang.
In this year in the life of the Smith family, holidays and events are marked by traditions and song as the family unites over meals and the piano. Although we never had a maid and we never lived in St. Louis and only two of us are musical, I identify with the four sisters (in my family we are five), adoring grandpa (our beloved Grandpa lived with us for a time), no-nonsense mother, and oblivious father. I romanticize my childhood just as Meet Me in St. Louis idealizes middle class America in 1904. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas never fails to move me to tears, as there is rarely a Christmas now when my sisters and I are all together. I am always hopeful that next year all of our troubles will be far away.
Planning your movie nibbles starts with the themes in Meet Me in St. Louis. Offer guests tiny open-faced sandwich canapes of corned beef on raisin bread (trust me!) topped with cabbage slaw and Welsh rarebit on rye crowned with ginger-peachy chutney. Serve chasers of tomato soup and celery sticks. For dessert: Hickory Nut Cake frosted with penuche, ice cream, and cotton candy. Milk should be plentiful. And offer a prize to the first person who spots the enigmatic garden gnome...
Quick Tomato Soup
Heat a tablespoon of tomato paste and a bit of garlic in olive oil over medium low heat for about 30 seconds. Add a can of diced or crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Add a few cups of chicken broth. Put the whole thing through the blender. Taste. Add a bit of sugar, pepper, basil, etc. Serve with grilled three-cheese sandwiches toasted in equal parts butter and olive oil.