The Celluloid Pantry: A Flying Olive, 30 Pounds of Raw Sirloin and Bringing Up Baby (1938)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

In the era of soup kitchens, charity gardens, and cheap recipe substitutions (think Crisco instead of butter, beef tongue instead of steak), moviegoers were ready to have more fun with food. In the screwball comedy, Bringing Up Baby (1938), it’s all tossed around with goofy extravagance.

It’s a single olive that first brings uptight paleontologist David Huxley (Cary Grant) to his knees.

Eccentric heiress, Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn), sits in an elegant nightclub, dressed to the nines. The bartender is teaching her a trick. She places an olive on the back of one hand, then taps it with the other, so it flies in the air before she catches it in her mouth. But, just as David is passing by, she misses. He skids on it, crashing to the floor.

From then on, David’s no longer in control. One strange event leads to another, and soon he finds himself saddled with the unlikely task of getting a meal for Susan’s hungry pet leopard, Baby. Only the best will do. The butcher is confused:

David: I want 30 pounds of sirloin steak, please.
Butcher: Did you say “30 pounds”?
David: Yes, that’s right—30 pounds.
Butcher: How will you have it cut?
David: Oh, just in one piece.
Butcher: Are you gonna roast it or broil it?
David: Neither, it’s gonna be eaten raw.
Butcher: Yeah…Say, do you grind this up before you eat it?
David: Oh, no, this isn’t for me. It’s for Baby.