The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

A silent film snack starts with the wrapping

with 22 comments

silentfilmsnackbagWhat is the ideal film snack? This is a question that is brought up for discussion from time to time, most recently by Kermode and Mayo’s film review podcast. The focus this time is the audio quality of the food. It must be silent. Or as the Wittertainment’s Code of Conduct states:

No eating of anything harder than a soft roll with no filling. No one wants to hear you crunch, chew or masticate in any way. Nachos cause special offence and are of the devil”.

I think most of us already have agreed that popcorn is out of question. Apart from crunching and smelling, it also has the nasty ability to slip out of the container and spread in the room until everything in it has an extra coating of oil and salt. I don’t care about how big part of the revenue that comes from the popcorn sales and how much they would have to raise the ticket price unless they had it: popcorn is for home movies and should be banned from theatres.

In a previous post I mused over various snacks and came up with the idea of fresh blueberries. After trying it a few more times over the last year, I still stand by this recommendation, although you need to eat them very carefully so you don’t mash them or drop them, which might have disastrous effects in terms of stained clothes.

There is one problem with the blueberries though: they come in a hard plastic box, which may cause some rustling sounds as the berries move around unless you’re careful. And this brings us over to the topic of this post.

The importance of the wrapping
It appears to me that Simon and Mark in their current discussion are putting too much emphasis on the food texture, overlooking the importance of the wrapping. Even the softest marshmallows can give away sounds of torture if you put them in cellophane bag. The way to the perfect silent film food always begins with the container. A snack is only as silent as the wrapping around it.

Finding a silent bag isn’t as easy as it may sound. A soft plastic bag that looks ever so innocent can turn out to be a ruthless killer of theatre silence.

So I gave it some thought and came up with the following idea: if you want a soundproof bag for your film snacks you need one in cloth. Since it might get a bit dirty by whatever you put in the bag, you will need one in a not-too-exclusive and easily washable material.

Why not sew it yourself? It’s easier than you may think. Take a piece of old cloth you may have at home, for instance a worn-out sheet (which I always keep since they’re perfect for window cleaning purposes). If you don’t know how to make it, use this little guide intended for children.

If you’re a frequent movie goer you could make a few of them while you’re at it, ensuring that you always have a fresh one ready.

Once you have a perfectly silent bag, the issue of what you’ll put in it will become a lot less urgent. I wouldn’t go as far as to put crisps in it but most sorts of candy should be safe wrapped in cloth, provided that you don’t chew it, but let it melt slowly in your mouth.

The search for the perfect silent film snack will continue, at Kermode’s show and elsewhere. What kind of bag would you bring to the theatre? And what would you put in it?

Written by Jessica

March 12, 2013 at 1:00 am

22 Responses

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  1. If you want to limit it to an in-theater purchase as most theaters frown upon you bringing your own snacks in, I quite enjoy cookie dough bites. They’re soft, and they come in a box. There is a cellophane wrapper around the bites themselves, but you should leave yourself enough time to open the wrapper and dump them into the box before the movie starts. Then, you have the box sitting at an angle in your lap with the end completely open and you can enjoy the bites one at a time as they melt deliciously in your mouth.

    Nice idea for a post, even though I hesitate to give up my favorite popcorn even with the detriments.


    March 12, 2013 at 1:12 am

    • I had no idea that you can buy cookie dough! Where I live you definitely would have to bring that to the theatre. I’ve never seen anyone being stopped for bringing their own to theatres here. But if that’s an issue you could always bring your own soft bag and transfer the snacks you’ve bought at the theatre into it before the show starts.


      March 12, 2013 at 7:40 am

      • They are pretty good, theyr’e pea sized cookie dough bites covered in chocolate. They also come in peanut butter flavor but haven’t tried that one yet. Next to Goobers (chocolate covered peanuts), they’re my favorite.


        March 13, 2013 at 12:56 am

  2. I’m a firm believer that you can eat anything you want in a theater… as long as you finish it before the movie starts, or at least within the first 2-3 minutes of the movie. If there’s enough time during the trailers for you to barbecue a whole pig slathered in BBQ sauce, potato chips, cellophane, and a popcorn bag, and then eat it before the movie starts, you’re cool with me.


    March 12, 2013 at 2:54 am

    • WELL… I would be with you if it wasn’t for the smell. Who wants to inhalate the lingering odure of a BBQ the entire movie?


      March 12, 2013 at 7:36 am

  3. Haha, I’m not entirely convinced about the blueberries-in-a-cloth-bag-concept 😉


    March 12, 2013 at 6:03 am

    • Fresh – no. But I’ve sen dried blueberries. Put them in a cloth back and I think you should be safe.


      March 12, 2013 at 7:33 am

      • Most dried fruits and berries should be good movie snacks, I imagine. Perhaps with the exception of figs. All those little crunchy seeds…


        March 12, 2013 at 10:08 am

  4. Haha! great review! I get really sociopathic in cinemas and theatres :S
    I say – don’t eat! You can eat as much as you like before and after the film. Drinks are ok I guess haha!

    But if you HAVE to eat, then I recommend putting whatever it is in a popcorn type tub so you can reach it without crackling wrapping…and make sure it’s not crunchy or feel my wrath 😉


    March 12, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    • Actually I hate seeing people entering theatres with huge cups that will contain at least 1 litre of soda if not more. Because unless they’re equipped with extraordinary bladders, I know there’s an overhanging risk they’ll have to jump up from their seats midshow to tend to their bioneeds. If people would just THINK a little bit in advance, they wouldn’t have to run out. I mean… it’s not exactly a secret that excessive drinking leads to consequences.


      March 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      • Haha! Good point… Although less of a problem here in the UK – portions are a lot smaller, cinema drinks included. I think this means there are far less bathroom interruptions! I know what you mean though, these biological issues need to be considered carefully! I think the problem is, a lot of people just don’t mind if there are interruptions and noise disturbance. I like absolute silence though. Even loud breathing is annoying, I really am rather intolerant I think 😉


        March 12, 2013 at 6:37 pm

        • Loud breathing! I think that goes under my radar… But you’re not alone. I talked eariier today to someone who was bothered by people touching their own faces during screeings. You know, there might be a scratchy noise if you’re bearded… 🙂


          March 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm

  5. Jessica you are such a Kermodite! And that’s not a bad thing. 🙂


    March 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm

  6. Recently there was this lady in the opera sitting behind me scratching her arm during a rather silent show. It was horrible!

    But I really like your idea of making a nice little snackbag out of some nice cotton fabric. I’ll try that! And since I love dried fruit I guess I’m on the safe side (and, as you know, I react quite as much as you do at any kind of sound in a cinema that does not belong to the movie)…


    March 12, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    • Dried fruit should work well in that cotton bag, not leaving it too greasy. And if you don’t eat all of it, it will stay fresh and good for eating next time you go to the movies.


      March 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm

  7. Nice post and great tips. I try to avoid eating at the theater but if I absolutely have to, I try to take the less noisy thing I can find.


    March 13, 2013 at 7:52 am

    • Not eating at all is definitely the best strategy to remain quiet. And it’s also cheaper and les fattening!


      March 14, 2013 at 2:26 pm

  8. I’m really not that bothered by other people eating. Actually can’t remember it ever taking away from me enjoying a movie anyway. Personally I usually go for peanut M&M’s which come in a bag which doesn’t make that much noise.


    March 14, 2013 at 11:35 am

    • M&M… yeah it might work if you chew them with a little bit of care.


      March 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm

  9. […] Confession: I’m brutal for bringing food into movies (I’ve smuggled in 12″ meatball subs before). Perhaps I should pay closer attention to Jessica as she goes over the in’s and out’s of movie-going food etiquette. […]

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