The Celluloid Pantry: Escape From In New York (With Movie Snacks in the Park)

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In honor of this month’s theme of Escapes, it’s time to think outside the movie theater, beyond the living room sofa, and get out onto the grass! (For inspiration, here's Kurt Russell busting out of an abandoned movie house in Escape From New York.) Beginning tonight and all the way through Saturday, the Central Park Conservancy will show a different movie each night (details here). It’s a mixed bag, but the common thread is each movie features a scene in Central Park.

But what about the food? Bloomberg’s providing free popcorn, but with gates opening at 6:00 and “curtain” time at 8:00, you might find yourself getting a little hungry. We want to hear your favorite movie picnic suggestions, but to get the ball rolling, here’s a little something in the spirit of each film:

Staying Alive (1983)
In this Sylvester Stallone-directed sequel to Saturday Night Fever, Tony Manero (John Travolta) puts on a headband and struts his way to the Broadway stage. Rated #1 in Entertainment Weekly’s Top 25 Worst Sequels Ever Made, this movie calls for something with extra cheese.

The Out-of-Towners (1970)
In this Neil Simon comedy, Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis play an Ohio couple hit with a streak of rotten luck on a trip to the Big Apple. Trouble starts even before they hit the city—after waiting 2 hours for a table on the train’s dining car, the pickings are slim: no ham, no chicken, just peanut butter on white bread, olives, saltines, tonic water and clam juice. Not so sure about the rest, but we’d pack the peanut butter in a jiff.

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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
The first order of business for a newly single dad (Dustin Hoffman) is French toast for his son—and he won’t be slowed down by technical snags: When the boy points out there’s egg shell in the mix, Dad says it’s crunchier that way. When the bread won’t fit in the mug full of beaten eggs and milk, he just "bends" it. Hmmm, maybe egg salad sandwiches (halved of course) with diced celery for that extra bit of crunch.

Madagascar (2005)
A group of escaped zoo animals become fast friends, even though hungry lion Alex can’t help eyeing his pals. Our pick: something low on the food chain like a grilled vegetable sandwich.

What would you bring?

- Nora

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The Celluloid Pantry

Nora Maynard is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her recent work has appeared in Salon, Drunken Boat, and The Millions. She recently completed her ninth marathon and her first novel, Burnt Hill Road. Nora wrote for The Kitchn from 2006 to 2011.