Every Recipe in The Godfather

From Sicilian cannolis to tomato sauce with sausage, food plays a dynamic and symbolic role in Francis Ford Coppola’s epic mob drama

G angster movies have been the bread and butter of Hollywood since its earliest days, with stars such as Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney cutting their teeth in Warner Brothers films about bootlegging and organized crime. But 1972’s The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall, was an industry game changer. The Academy Award–winning film was one of the first to depict the Mafia from the perspective of its family values, immersing us so fully in the rhythms and personalities of the Corleones that it’s difficult to fully vilify them. The Corleones work within a strict moral code, unlike the corrupt police who are a threat to the family and their way of life.

Food is one of the most powerful ways the audience gets to know the Corleone family, who came to America from Sicily and, like many immigrant families, use food to maintain their traditions. While the outer world may be new and challenging, sitting down to a family dinner and eating the food of their ancestors is a ritual of comfort.

In fact, The Godfather almost seems incomprehensible without its food and its significance is emphasized throughout the film, beginning with the opening scene, the wedding of Connie Corleone (Coppola’s sister, Talia Shire), an extravagant event with plates of lasagna, antipasto salad, [Read more…]