Over the summer, I received a request from one ardent Cinema Sips reader for more movies starring Cher. This is somewhat of a tall order, considering that the queen diva rarely does film work. I was actually a bit shocked about how few films were on her resume, the count being only 13. That’s impossible, I thought. She’s Cher!!! I suppose it is a testament to her larger-than-life persona that she’s left such an indelible mark as an actress given the limited film work she’s done. Perhaps no movie epitomizes that persona better than this week’s Cinema Sips selection, Mermaids (DVD). This was always a favorite of mine growing up, for many reasons. A mother who serves only appetizers! Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles! Polka dot dresses! I could go on and on. Plus, Cher plays a woman who definitely likes a cocktail, so what better movie to watch with a drink?
Mermaids is about a single mother named Mrs. Flax (played by Cher) who moves her two daughters to a small town in Massachusetts (played by Winona Ryder and a very young Christina Ricci) in 1963. Mrs. Flax is hip, scandalous, and fun- basically a lady who’s been around the block a few times. Of course her elder daughter Charlotte is a conservative prude who dreams of being a nun, while simultaneously harboring a fierce crush on the town handyman (played by Michael Schoeffling, aka Jake Ryan of Sixteen Candles fame). Charlotte is constantly embarrassed by her mother, as all teenage girls are, before realizing that maybe her mother is pretty great after all. Rounding out the cast is Bob Hoskins as shoe salesman Lou, who is so charming and kind that Cher can’t help but fall for the loveable galoot. Heck, I kind of fall for him, bald head and love handles be-damned. This is definitely a coming-of-age story, but I love that it’s told from a girl’s perspective, a rarity in Hollywood.
My cocktail this week was inspired by Mrs. Flax’s culinary skills. As her daughter puts it, “Fun Finger Foods is her main source book and it’s all the woman cooks…. Entrees are too much of a commitment.” I couldn’t agree more, and frankly I wish I could get away with pizza bagels and soft pretzel bites every night. But, you know, health. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t turn a drink into a fun finger food. I’m loving the recent Bloody Mary craze going on right now, wherein the more food you can stuff on the top of the glass, the better. Did y’all see the one with the whole roast chicken on it?? Mine isn’t that elaborate, but it does involve small foods on a toothpick. I’m pretty sure Mrs. Flax would approve. When watching Mermaids, I recommend drinking Mother’s Bloody Mary.
Mother’s Bloody Mary
2 oz vodka
4 oz tomato juice
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes Tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste
Random small foods- eg. Celery Stalk, andouille sausage, olives, peppers, lemon wedges, etc.
In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine the vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Shake vigorously and then strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with your small foods on toothpicks- get creative!
The beauty of this drink is that it’s all in the garnish. Whatever you have laying around in your kitchen, if it fits on a toothpick, throw it in! The more the merrier! This is for ladies on the go who don’t have time to prepare a full meal and would rather drink it than eat it, kinda like Mrs. Flax. Was she a bad mother who neglected to serve her children nutritious meals? Perhaps. But did she truly love her daughters and try to do the best she could? Absolutely. I think the same can be said about many mothers out there. I was raised by a single mother who maybe took culinary shortcuts now and again (hello Steak-umm’s!) but she did the best she could and that counts for a lot. This movie makes me appreciate all the mothers out there, who maybe want to fly free and wear sexy clothes and be outrageous, but instead stay home and make peanut butter sandwiches in the shape of a star, and show their kids that they are loved more than anything. Cheers!