It’s time for A Fork & A Flick Friday again – the first Friday of the month, when we feature a movie and a complimenting dish. This particular first Friday of the month is also the start of Labor Day weekend. It’s the first indicator of the end of summer and culmination of vacations, but also a weekend filled with backyard barbeques, final parties of the summer, and the last few days of soaking up the sun at parks and beaches. So, why not spend this Friday after work winding down with some comfort food and a good movie to get you geared for the weekend ahead.
Labor Day is always the first Monday of September and was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland in 1894 making it a federal holiday. For over 100 years, the patriotic holiday has constituted a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. It is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. With that in mind, I have a movie that depicts this exactly through a hard working waitress who reaps the rewards of her creativity and efforts with a successful business after much hardship – Waitress, an indie film which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and it has been written into a stage musical.
Waitress is a woman’s empowerment film, which reminded me of all the contributions women made to the American labor force during World War II and onwards. However, with the final scenes of the movie depicting just this theme, that a simple American worker can make it if she applies herself with a will, Waitress has much more to offer being a feminist fairy tale about a woman learning to develop her creative gifts while trapped in a stifling marriage. There is the repeated theme of manifesting your desires and the energy of attraction throughout the film as Jenna, played by Keri Russell, creates elaborately creative pies by sourcing her feelings and energy about the various circumstances she undergoes. She literally meditates on her pies, and comes up with the recipes as she visualizes them in her head.
A waitress and expert pie maker, Jenna is stuck in a small town in the Deep South of America and a loveless marriage, squirreling away money, and hoping to win a pie-baking contest so that with the prize money she will have enough cash to leave her controlling and bully husband, Earl. She finds herself pregnant, which throws her plans awry. She bakes phenomenal pies at Joe’s diner, with unusual titles inspired by her life, such as the “Bad Baby Pie” she invents after her unwanted pregnancy is confirmed. Aside from making pies that reflect her feelings, Jenna’s only solace are her friends at the diner, she listens to old Joe’s wisdom and vents to friends Dawn and Becky (her fellow waitresses). As the days go by, Jenna tolerates her sour boss, Cal, and finds a mutual attraction with the new doctor in town. As the pregnancy advances, life with Earl seems less tolerable, a way out less clear, and the affair with the doctor complicated by his marriage. Jenna must choose between her commitments and her dreams. Her customers, co-workers, and the town’s handsome new doctor all offer her conflicting recipes for happiness—but Jenna ultimately has to decide for herself. This is a dark comedy that explores confused characters trying to find their bit of happiness in often unlikely places. In this journey the film ties in moral dilemmas of infidelity that is never condoned and the need to be wanted. With an ode to the art of making pies, this poignant and uplifting movie celebrates friendship, motherhood, and the courage it takes to pluck a long abandoned dream off the shelf.
The subtitle for the film is “if only life were as easy as pie.” I counted about 18 pies that appear in the film as Jenna’s muse, so it would be impossible for me to not select a pie to feature in this post. The “Falling In Love Chocolate Mouse Pie” is one that Jenna bakes for her waitress friend, Dawn, who was going on a blind date and she ends up marrying the date after a very brief courtship. Just like falling in love, this pie is light and sweet, yet rich dark chocolate fills you up, but leaves you wanting more.
I have adapted this recipe from variations of the pie I found online, as the movie was not specific to the methodologies of Jenna’s recipes. This movie deserves a recipe book!
Falling In Love Chocolate Mouse Pie
(9 inch backed pastry shell can be substituted for the bellow)
1-1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs (24 squares)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
9 inch backed pastry shell
Chocolate Mousse Filling
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup water
1 (4 serving) package chocolate pudding mix (not instant)
1 1-oz. square unsweetened chocolate
2 cups (1 pint) whipping cream, stiffly whipped
If making your own crust, in a small bowl, combine the crumbs and sugar; add butter and blend well. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. pie plate.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling, or bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack before filling.
For the filling, in a large saucepan, combine condensed milk, water and pudding mix; mix well. Add chocolate. Over medium heat, cook and stir rapidly until chocolate melts and mixture thickens.
Remove from heat; beat until smooth. Cool. Chill thoroughly; stir.
Fold in whipped cream. Pour into prepared pie shell. Chill until serving, at least 4 hours.
*Note: Drizzle some chocolate sauce and top with extra whip cream for serving.