Cooking inspiration can come from the most random places.
Several weeks ago, I was watching Girls. Specifically, the episode "One Man's Trash", where Hannah has an affair with a rich, hot, brownstone-owning doctor. While she's sitting in his gorgeous kitchen, she looks around and remarks, "I feel like I'm in a Nancy Meyers movie."
I thought to myself, "Man, I love Nancy Meyers movies. I don't have places to go or things to do. I should watch It's Complicated, then Something's Gotta Give, and then It's Complicated again, all in one evening." So I did. For those of you who aren't familiar with her films, Nancy Meyers is known for her impeccable attention to detail in every tiny aspect of each scene. Every home in her films is stunning and beautifully decorated, but the particular detail that always sticks out to me is - what else? The food.
It's Complicated is definitely the food-porniest of all Meyers' movies. Meryl Streep's character, Jane, plays a chef/bakery owner, and several scenes heavily feature food preparation. From the scene where a slightly stoned Jane makes pain au chocolat from scratch, to her preparation of her ex-husband's favorite meal of roasted chicken, sauteed string beans, mashed potatoes, and double fudge cake in anticipation of their evening rendezvous, to her admission that she makes ice cream (of the lavender-honey variety) when she can't sleep, food is ALL over this movie.
My favorite food-related scene in the movie occurs when Jane prepares Croque Monsieur and a salad for her architect and love interest, played by Steve Martin. She tells him that Croque Monsieur was the first thing she learned to cook for herself when she lived in France. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm pretty sure that one of the first things I learned to cook for myself was grilled cheese. Croque Monsieur is basically grilled cheese on crack. Gruyere, ham, and dijon mustard get sandwiched between slices of white bread, topped with a Mornay sauce and more gruyere, then broiled.
The day I made this, I mentioned over on Facebook that it's really not fair to all the other sandwiches how good this is. This takes about 30 minutes to make. Any quicker, and I'd be in BIG trouble since I pretty much want to eat this every day, while imagining that I'm cooking it in a kitchen painstakingly designed by Ms. Meyers herself. Until I can live inside a Nancy Meyer's movie, I'll settle for just cooking like her characters. Trust me...the rest of that food is coming. Roasting a chicken has been on my culinary to-do list for far too long!