Dinner & a Movie: To Kill a Mockingbird

September 30, 2011

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 share the menus for her favorite films with us -- here's the latest installment: American classic To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Shop the Story


Maybe it doesn’t quite yet feel like fall here in New York, but the lame weather won’t stop me from pulling out my fall movies — the ones that make the air feel crisp, even if it’s beyond muggy. Maybe it’s some sort of Pavlovian response dating to 7th grade English class, or perhaps it’s the chill-inducing climactic scene, but every September, like clockwork, I just have to watch To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird  To Kill a Mockingbird

For those who need a cliff-notes reminder: To Kill a Mockingbird, an adaptation of the novel by Harper Lee, is the story of sister and brother Scout and Jem. Set in Depression-era Alabama, we follow the pair through two summers and a fall in which they make friends with the puny next door neighbor Dill (supposedly modeled after a young Truman Capote), try to puzzle out the mysteries of their next door neighbor, Boo Radley, and watch their father, the legendary lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), defend Tom Robinson, an innocent black man accused of raping a white girl, in front of a jury and town who will not see past the color of his skin.

To Kill a Mockingbird  To Kill a Mockingbird

Something that struck me when I recently watched To Kill a Mockingbird was how much of the film takes place in darkness. While the movie is very much about a certain childhood innocence that both Scout and Jem lose (and a certain wisdom that they gain) during the trial of Tom Robinson, watching now, I felt like the movie was even more about how that innocence is itself a myth. Shadow is pervasive in the film, and so is subtext. While we watch Scout, Jem and Dill carry out the escapades of children, somehow we always know that they understand a bit more than the world gives them credit for.

To Kill a Mockingbird  To Kill a Mockingbird

If you haven’t revisited the film, or the book, in a while – you should. The story is one of the sublime creations of 20th century America. And, while certain subtleties from the book were lost in the film (this happens, and I'm not one to complain, but the plaintiff, Mayella, gets the short shrift on celluloid), it remains a complex and rich portrait of a time, place, and people.

The meal below comes from a moment in the film when Scout learns an important lesson: it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird ... and to make fun of your guest for pouring syrup all over his supper.

(I couldn't find a good quality trailer so instead, I bring you one of my favorite scenes.)


Meal for a Mockingbird

Mint Iced Tea by merrill

Mint Iced Tea


Cheese Biscuits by merrill

Cheese Biscuits


Pink Greens by Marissa Grace

Pink Greens


Super Simple Glazed Ham by Kayb

Super Simple Glazed Ham


Himalayan Blackberry Pie by lapadia

Himalayan Blackberry Pie

Want more movie menus? See what Elena's serving with Amélie and The Hangover.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • TXExpatInBKK
  • Sagegreen
  • lorigoldsby
  • Panfusine
  • workingstiff
Currently a Creative Technologist working over at Campfire. Recent grad of NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, where I played around with interactive video and mobile storytelling. Former video and editing accomplice here @ Food52. In other lives: worked on the HBO Documentary Make Me Young: Youth Knows No Pain & The New York Public Library’s Biblion: The Boundless Library. At the moment, I'm really into feta.


TXExpatInBKK October 4, 2011
Great food line up! My book club just read To Kill A Mockingbird. I hadn't read it since high school and it was a fantastic reread.
Sagegreen October 3, 2011
Really nicely done!
lorigoldsby September 30, 2011
Wonderful suggestions...only missing scuppernong recipes!
Panfusine September 30, 2011
Brilliant choice of movie.. One of the best ever!! biscuits & Mint tea just make it perfect!
workingstiff September 30, 2011
Harper Lee was also Capote's cousin and Dill in the movie is Truman.
boulangere October 1, 2011
Yes, very sweet point of fact
wssmom September 30, 2011
That was one of my favorite scenes both from the book and the movie; I only recently learned that Harper Lee was the researcher for Capote's In Cold Blood ...
Merrill S. October 1, 2011
Cool factoid, right?
boulangere October 1, 2011
seriously cool
ashleychasesdinner September 30, 2011
What a great idea! Love the dinner and a movie!