Julie and JuliaThe long anticipated movie Julie and Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, opens today and whatever the reviews, it’s sure to be filled with beautiful food. Based on the book Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, it follows the cooking adventures of a young woman who, in an attempt to bring some focus to her life, decides to make every recipe in Julia Child’s iconic Mastering the Art of French Cooking – in one year and all in her tiny kitchen.

This isn’t the first time food has been the centerpiece of a film. Take a look at these entries for more mouthwatering fun:

Big Night – An Italian restaurant on the brink of closing pulls out all the stops in one last attempt to keep the kitchen running.

Babette’s Feast – An unexpected windfall allows Babette to create a once-in-a-lifetime banquet for her longtime benefactors, a pious religious group that deny earthly pleasure.

Chocolat – When a mysterious single mother moves into a small French village and opens a chocolate shop, magic and controversy soon follow.

Sideways – Two best friends spend a week touring the California wine country, discovering passion, exploring their failures and searching for the perfect wine.

Like Water for Chocolate – In this romantic fantasy a couple is denied the chance to marry. To be near her, the young man marries her sister and she expresses her passion for him through her cooking.

house-of-daughters1Ready for an escape this winter? How about a little literary trip to a champagne vineyard in France? Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? And yes, I realize it still gets cold there, but you have to admit, the idea of it is pretty romantic.

In House of Daughters by Sarah-Kate Lynch, the story revolves around Clementine, the daughter and rightful heir to the House of Peine, a vineyard that has been in the family for generations. However, after her father dies, Clementine soon discovers that she must share her inheritance with a half-sister she’s only met once and with another she didn’t even know existed! Needless to say, all is not happy in the Peine household. The sisters struggle not only with each other but with trying to keep the vineyard afloat financially. Secrets, scandals and long lost loves all keep this story bubbly and upbeat, but robust enough to savor long into the night. Share a toast to sisterhood and celebrate this read with your own bottle of champagne. C’est la vie!

Ever wonder which wine to have with a meal? Ever debate the pairing of different beers with specific foods? Ever argue with your SO about which is better, beer or wine? He Said Beer, She Said Wine by Sam Calagione and Marnie Old will not only educate and entertain you, it’ll provide you with fresh issues to debate.

Written by two acknowledged experts in their field, this book starts with an overview of each beverage, the basics of how each is produced, a discussion of varieties and styles and how to taste and evaluate each one. The heart of the book discusses pairing wine and beer with different foods such as cheese, vegetables, sandwiches, pizza, fish, pasta, chicken and desserts.

The final section is the fun part – bringing the debate home. Calagione and Old describe how to have a wine versus beer party, including giving you ideas on how to set up voting, sample menus and wine/beer pairings, and recipes.

Smart but never stuffy, this lavishly illustrated book is sure to encourage lots of friendly debate – and might even have you believing in the value of the other beverage, no matter what side you’re on.