The Celluloid Pantry: Champagne and Potato Chips and The Seven Year Itch (1955)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What doesn’t go with champagne? Used to be, you were just supposed to have it with things like caviar as an apéritif, with seafood for dinner, or eggs for brunch, but deep-fried foods, Asian dishes, and even popcorn have all become fair game.

In The Seven Year Itch (1955), we get an early, trail-blazing precedent.

It’s a hot August in New York. With his family away in Maine keeping cool, publishing exec Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) spends his days dreaming up new ways to market cheap paperback versions of the classics (Little Women gets the subtitle “The Secrets of a Girls’ Dormitory”), and his evenings spinning his life into Walter Mitty-like fantasies. When his dizzy, curvy neighbor (Marilyn Monroe) comes over to spend some time in his air-conditioning, he imagines sitting at the piano with her, suavely playing Rachmaninoff. But when she arrives, it’s with a bottle of champagne and a bag of potato chips, to listen while he struggles through “Chopsticks.” “Did you ever dunk a potato chip in champagne?” she asks breathily, “It’s real crazy. Here—isn’t that crazy?” “Yeah,” says Richard, “pretty crazy.”

What doesn’t go with champagne? I’ll tell you. Last year some friends of ours were going back home to France after a three-year stay in NYC. They were feeling nostalgic about leaving, and had developed a weird affection for American delicacies like Wonder Bread and Philadelphia cream cheese—though we learned they still hadn’t tried Twinkies. We had them over and surprised them with a snack and a drink. No, Twinkies really don’t go with champagne.