Food in films: Stranger than Fiction

Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stranger than Fiction - café not included... Number three in an occasional series

Any foodie can’t help but be seduced by Ana Pascal’s (Maggie Gyllenhaal, never looking sexier than here, kneading dough in dungarees) passion for cooking in Marc Foster’s Stranger than Fiction. You can find a good review here on Confessions of a Film Critic. An anarchist baker, Ana runs a little café, counters laden with tempting-looking cookies and cakes – just like the kind of café that you’d like to have in your own neighbourhood. Not amused by having to be audited by IRS agent Harold Crick (Will Ferrell, playing it straight for once), she nevertheless bakes him fresh chocolate chip cookies, serving them up with a glass of milk and a helping of light-up-the-screen charisma. She also has an amazing speech which, of course, I can’t fully remember or find online anywhere, about how she realised in law school that she was meant to be a baker, giving a litany of American cookies, traybakes and brownies that will have you salivating at the cinema. And how does the IRS agent win her heart? With a box of flours – rye, wholegrain – all in little brown paper bags with colour-coded stickers. Anyone stuck for an idea for your favourite foodie this Christmas?

Incidentally, if you’re looking for a café in Dublin as nice as Ana’s looks in Stranger than Fiction, check out Michelle Darmody’s The Cake Café, behind the Daintree paper shop on Camden Street. They’ve had gorgeous gingerbread houses on the counter lately, just perfect for Christmas, and – like Michelle’s other establishment, the Curved Street Café – all the food is deliciously homemade. Well worth a wander.



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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3 Responses

  1. john says:

    hey carolinethanks for the heads-up to my site. have a delicious christmas. i live right around the corner from the cake cafe, btw, and have never been, so thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Heather says:

    the moment with the bags of flours made me grin so much — so sweet!(i think that it’s meant to be set in chicago, though, not new york. although the dialogue refers to the “metropolitan transit authority,” which is what it’s called in new york and not, as far as i know, in chicago, the “red line” is definitely not a new york thing, and the bus line used is also definitely not new york-based — in nyc, the buses all have numbers, e.g. the m86 or the b71, rather than being named by street names.)

  3. John – I can’t believe you haven’t been in there already! Try it out and let me know what you think.Heather – thanks for your correction. My knowledge of American bus systems is limited, to say the least, so help is always useful!

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