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Our videographer Elena Parker -- a serious food and film buff -- is really good at throwing movie-themed dinner parties. She and her friends cook together, serve up, and eat while they watch.
We've asked her to start sharing the menus for her favorite films with us -- here's the latest installment: nostalgic baseball flick A League of Their Own.
I have a weakness for baseball movies.
I think my particular fondness for them might have something to do with the fact that I lived and breathed softball for nearly eleven years ... but, then again, there is also something universally amazing about baseball flicks. Bear with me here, and just think: The Natural, Bull Durham, The Sandlot.
But, for me, one baseball film stands far and away ahead of the crowd: A League of Their Own.
Directed by Penny Marshall in 1992, A League of Their Own celebrates the true story of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, which originated during WWII as a way to maintain baseball as a public diversion as professional male players went off to war. Marshall focuses her film on the first season of the league and on the exploits of one specific team, The Rockford Peaches. It's hard to really pick out a star from the team, the cast of which includes the likes of both Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna, among many other wonderful characters.
However, catcher Dottie Henson (Geena Davis) is the real star of the show. Beyond earning the title "The Queen of Diamonds" for her ability to "Play like Gehrig and look like Garbo," Dottie's relationship with her kid sister Kit (Lori Petty) drives the entirety of the film. Then of course, there's Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks, in what I sometimes think is his greatest performance), alcoholic, former home run champ, generally hilarious.
Beyond giving the players of the AAGPBL a voice and containing some of the most-quotable sports phrases ever, A League of Their Own captures something that few other sports films really convey: the thrill of what it is to play. Tom Hanks's character says it best: "Baseball is what gets inside of you, it's what lights you up. There's no denying that ... If it wasn't hard everybody would do it. It's the hard that makes it great." To this day, whenever I watch this film, I can almost feel the infield dirt under my feet. "It's what lights you up." Indeed.
I recognize that not all of us necessarily played baseball, or softball, or, perhaps, any type of sport -- but I am sure that you can harness some of the thrill from even just watching a game. Thus, this week's menu. Food52 has a surprising amount of recipes that can be read as more sophisticated versions of ballpark snacks. So sit back and enjoy watching an old-time ballgame, with a little liquor and bacon thrown in for good measure. Then, of course, there's the cake, which is obviously in support of my favorite team. Go Peaches!
The trailers for this film are absolutely atrocious (they include an adjusted version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" with the line "Who Says Girls Can't Play Baseball." Instead, I bring you the following rather famous sneak peek: