Posts Tagged ‘Tom Hanks’


Singing Songs About the Southland

January 17, 2009

1994 was another golden year for the Oscars. Almost as good as 1939. Almost. With the exception of one clunker, any one of the other four nominees could reasonably have been best picture that year. The golden four? Forrest Gump (winner), Pulp Fiction (great movie) Quiz Show (one of my all time favorites), The Shawshank Redemption (gets better every time I see it). The clunker? Well, I hate naming names, but what the heck is Four Wedding and a Funeral , clunk, doing on this list? The only award it should have been nominated for would have to be Best Performance by a Big Black Hat.

I remember there being a great rivalry between Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction that year. Gump is certainly more crowd pleasing. Pulp Fiction is for more eclectic tastes. This shows in their respective soundtracks as well. Forrest Gump is like listening to an ordinary classic rock station: The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd et al. Pulp Fiction digs a little deeper and goes a little further: Dusty Springfield, The Statler Brothers. On musical soundtrack choices alone Pulp Fiction should have won.

But Forrest Gump is a lot of fun and has some great performances: Tom Hanks (winning his second Oscar) Gary Sinise (I went to the same high school as he did; only he’s much older) and Robin Wright are all great. If you haven’t seen it, you probably should. This was also one of the few times in recent history that we all were able to watch the movie. Eleven year old girls get bored easily.

My favorite Gump Scene: I laughed for days when I first saw this–the drinking Dr. Pepper (nice product placement) in the White House Forrest meets JFK “I gotta pee.” scene. Hilarious.

The Gump scene that makes me admire Sir Richard Attenborough: The above pictured Washington monument scene. A lot of the “people” in the “crowd” scene were just CGI trickery. All those people in the Gandhi crowds were real people.

For dinner we went to Savannah’s renowed Paula Deen for advice and recipes. We ate at Lady & Sons on a trip to South Carolina a few years ago (before she got so Food Network famous). The restaurant is lovely. And so is her food.

Shrimp Cocktail–(cause you know we had to use shrimp)

  • 1 pound medium or large shrimp, in the shell, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Cocktail Sauce,from a jar
  • Lemon or Lime wedges

put some cocktail sauce in a martini glass, sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Put cold shrimp around the edge of the glass. Serve with lemon or lime wedge.

Easy Gumbo casserole (cause you know we had to use even more shrimp)

1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 cup chicken or fish stock
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
10-ounce package frozen cut okra
2 cups shrimp, cleaned, peeled, and deveined

1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup milk
12-ounce package corn muffin mix

In an iron skillet, saute onion and celery in oil. Add bay leaves, thyme, lemon-pepper seasoning and House Seasoning. Pour in stock and add tomatoes and okra. Cover pot and gently simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in shrimp.To prepare the topping, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix together egg and milk, add to muffin mix, and combine until just well-blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls on top of hot shrimp mixture, leaving the center uncovered. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

for dessert we had Life is Like a Box of Chocolate brownies. So easy, so fun. You never know what you’re going to get. This was a smash hit.

  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted, plus a little more for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 9 pieces of chocolate box chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9 by 13-inch cake pan (aluminum is fine) with butter. Beat the 1 1/2 sticks butter and the sugar together in a large bowl until blended. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then stir in water and vanilla. Sprinkle the salt and baking powder over the mixture, then mix in. Do the same with the cocoa. Finally, stir in the flour until just blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Push a chocolate into the batter about 2 inches apart, until the chocolate is covered. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the center is set, the edges look a bit crusty, and the top of the brownies start to crack a little. Cool completely before cutting into squares.