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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

There's Got to Be Something Better Than Popcorn

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 2:32 PM


I don't have anything against popcorn. I don't, really. Except maybe when those tiny little curved pieces flake off and cement themselves to your uvula—and then you need to hack and cough and spit them loose, like an emphysemic camel. That's pretty annoying. But Women's Day posted a list of movie concessions from around the world (do I need to mention here that I don't make a habit of reading Women's Day but that I followed a link from this place?) and some of them, well, kick popcorn in its butter-drenched kernel.

Take a look:

Japan: Iwashi Senbei (these are sardine rice crackers)
Korea: Dried Cuttlefish (these are... um, dried cuttlefish)
Russia: Beluga Caviar (for the richies)
India: Samosas (potato pastries), Chaat and Vada Pav
Barbados: Fish cakes
Lithuania: Kvas (a fermented bread drink, sounds nasty)
Greece: Souvlaki
Norway: Dried Reindeer Meet
I'm not advocating that movie theaters start selling dried cuttlefish at the concession booth, but samosas! That would be an ideal movie theater food. Or dried reindeer meat—hell, any kind of dried meat (except cuttlefish) is a portable, easy-to-eat treat. If an enterprising movie theater started serving the salmon jerky from Josephson's in Astoria, I would buy pounds of it before every movie.

We've got a really good thing going with the beer situation at Portland theaters—it puts us far ahead of most places in the country. And, cost-prohibitive theaters with a full menu like Living Room Theaters aside, there are plenty of theaters that offer pizza, too. But pizza, usually prepared elsewhere and then brought into the theater, is not really not a huge step above the junk like the iffy hot dogs and day-glo nachos you can get at the multiplex. I think there's still ample room for more filling, savory, meal-type options at the theater—who among us hasn't made a dinner out of movie-theater popcorn and sorely regretted it the next day? There are tons of easy-to-prepare dishes—samosas!—that could work behind almost any theater counter. Fresh salsa! Waffles! Veggie white-bean chili! Actual, fresh sandwiches! Sushi, theoretically! Tamales!

If hundreds of cooks can ply their trade in the tiny confines of a food cart, what's possible in a movie theater concession stand? What would you ideally like to eat at the movies? What do you already smuggle in?

On Topic...

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