Some Foods Need Not Be Reinvented a.k.a. Keep Your Stuffed Peppers Away From Me
Because Miracle Mile came up in conversation with three friends separately in three weeks when it was still balmy (now it’s winter?), once after a dinner at Sizzler while driving past the diner used in the Anthony Edwards/Mare Winningham movie, I became consumed by the idea that I needed to watch Miracle Mile because I never have, and as things do this quickly morphed into throwing a Miracle Mile viewing party with food from the 1988 release year. And also as things often do, I got stuck in the ideation phase and at the rate I’m going it will be a Miracle Mile-themed Thanksgiving (except now I’ve started obsessing over After Hours).
1988 proved tricky because most foods associated with the ‘80s are really more early-to-mid decade and because Oregon was a little behind the times, things I associate with the early ‘90s like sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, artichoke hearts, and pesto were already old hat in more cosmopolitan enclaves. Plus, my interest for party food purposes has been more Good Housekeeping than Gourmet.
That said, I’m on board with Boboli, Boursin-stuffed chicken breasts, pasta salad, black bean soup, designer pizzas (chicken and bbq sauce on Boboli), and cilantro where it might not belong like that pizza.
Stuffed peppers, childhood despair in the form of stewy tomato-sauced rice and ground beef? Not so much, despite this ad being from 1988. (Don’t even click on this 1983 Beefaroni abomination unless you want to end up in tears.) And now I’m being haunted by those nightshade-rich nostalgia vessels.
I recently attended a screening of Over the Edge (1979) another film crying out for a viewing party, at Nitehawk. In one of the earliest scenes this sweet bit of dialogue occurs:
00:03:25 She’s too stoned to talk to, man. You can’t talk to that girl.
00:03:28 Hey, I’ll see you guys later.
00:03:31 Stuffed peppers tonight.
00:03:33 We don’t wanna miss that, do we, Johnny?
The actor stating interest in stuffed peppers, Tom Fergus, was in attendance, a totally Manhattan-raised kid, not a suburban hesher, who is now a good-looking dad living in Tribeca. That line came up on the Q&A. It was an ad lib. And most genius. But also nine years before 1988.
This morning in 2015 an Epicurious email announced in its subject line: “Make Stuffed Peppers the Whole Family Will Love.”
And then I shut my laptop and decided I needed to leave the house lest I throw it across the room.