monday at the movies: The Help

monday at the movies
notes from maggie's farm

The morning after.  There were some regrettable decisions made, perhaps, but many memorable moments, punctuated the night.

I mean The Oscars, of course.

And though there were several good movies to watch this year, one of my favorites was The Help.  

Primarily, it was the love/hate nature of the film that kept me drawn into the story.  Small triumphs frequently won over mean-spirited moments.  And the period details--I loved them!  The aqua blue kitchens, pink bathrooms, convertible Cadillacs, slick, tall, bouffants, cinched waist cotton dresses, and more than a few doilies.  I loved the babushka-tied headscarves, the southern accents, even the crisp gray housekeeper uniforms, though they represented some questionable trends of the time.  I wanted to hunt down and beat some of those characters, and some scenes were quite difficult to watch.  They were always interspersed with lighter scenes--and quite a few were filled with foods of the time.  Who will forget the fried chicken, the deviled eggs.....the chocolate pie!  The ladies' luncheons were perfect excuses to serve the iconic foods of the time. 

So it was with a fondness for the movie we both so enjoyed that my friend, Karen, and I, hunkered down to watch the Oscars with snacks inspired by The Help--cocktails and tea sandwiches, three ways.

  • Cucumber with Black Pepper Boursin Pecan Spread
  • Radish with Salted Herbed Butter Spread
  • Pear and Pepper Candied Bacon on Blue Cheese Thyme Spread

Black Pepper Boursin Pecan Spread 
4 oz Boursin Cheese, Black Pepper
3 T sour cream
2 T chopped pecans
Blend all ingredients together well, and spread on whole wheat baguette rounds.  Top with thin slices of cucumber.

Salted Herbed Butter Spread
1 stick unsalted butter
4 T whipped cream cheese
1 tsp fleur de sel, or Maldon salt flakes
Assorted fresh herbs--we used garlic chives, thyme, oregano, and mint.
Mince stemmed herbs.  Add to processor bowl with butter, at room temperature, and whipped cream cheese.  Process until smooth.  Spread on baguette rounds and top with thinly sliced radishes.

Blue Cheese Thyme Spread
3 T crumbled blue cheese
4 T whipped cream cheese
3 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped
a shake of seasoning salt
Stir all ingredients together until well-blended.  Spread on baguette rounds.  Top with sliced pear, and pepper candied bacon (below).

Pepper Candied Bacon
1 lb uncured, natural bacon (no nitrates or nitrites)
4 T brown sugar
smoked black pepper
Lay slices of bacon on a rimmed, lined (silicone baking sheet, foil, or parchment) baking sheet.  Sprinkle brown sugar, and smoked black pepper atop.  Bake at 400 degrees until browned and chewy/crisp.  Allow to cool, then tear, or cut, into 1 inch pieces.

We may or may not have agreed with the major award winners, but one thing we did agree upon was the most beautiful dress of the evening:

Penelope Cruz arrives for the 84th Annual Academy Awards at the Hollywood & Highland Center, CA February 26, 2012.
courtesy of

Who were your best dressed winners?

And more importantly, what were your favorite Oscar party snacks?


  1. Your tea sandwiches look fabulous! Loved Penelope Cruz's dress. She epitomized grace and old Hollywood glamour.

  2. We had so much fun--it was a pretty predictable telecast, but we enjoyed noshing and critiquing! lol What did you think about the award winners?

  3. I was surprised Meryl won. She is a fabulous actor though. I guess I'm going to have to rent "The Artist" to see what all the fuss is about:)

  4. Agreed! I love Streep and she is, of course, wonderful, but this year I thought she was not as strong as others, and I was rooting for Viola Davis. The Artist is fun and entertaining, but I'm not sure I'm able to agree with the best picture award. And Damien Bejshir's was hands-down the best actor performance. And if there was a movie I abhorred....well that would be Tree of Life. That was for the artsiest of arthouse movie lovers.

  5. What a lovely plate! I haven't seen "The Help" yet, but I did enjoy the book. Movie soon!

  6. Thank you, Mary Helen! We love little nibbly bits! We enjoyed the movie, too!


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