What We Talk About When
We Talk About Movie Snacks

Issue 5, Winter 2022

I’m a popcorn-and-Diet-Coke purist these days and have been for years. But in the suburban Tel Aviv neighborhood where I grew up, the only movie theater was in an old, past-its-prime hotel that nonetheless tried to keep up appearances during intermission. (Yes, intermission: I’m that old.) Refreshments were already included in the price of your ticket, and you didn’t get to choose: for the adults, what I imagine must’ve been terrible coffee or tea, but in real cups. (With saucers!) Kids got popsicles and a pouch of Tropit — Israel’s aggressively sweetened Capri Sun stand-in. Was it terrible? Yes. Was it perfect? Also yes.

Ben Huberman, Israel

As a a child I went to the movies a lot and like everyone, I think, I associate the movie theater with the smell of dusty velvet seats and popcorn. For me, no other concessions existed: just popcorn. I’ve thought a lot about why — it doesn’t crunch too much under your teeth. It’s quiet and tasty and it doesn’t distract you because it doesn’t leave a stain when it ends up on your shirt.

Now I hardly ever eat at the movies; I go to little neighborhood theaters where there might not even be a counter selling popcorn. I just bring water and some hard candy, so if I start to cough (you know, from the dust) I have something to suck on and don’t have to deal with the shame of everyone staring.

Francesca Patrizi, Italy

I wasn’t a big fan of popcorn, which was lucky because my father wasn’t a big fan of overpaying. We smuggled our snacks in from the newsagents across the road, which only increased the forbidden-fruit frisson of munching on a tooth rotter.  

My preferred snack was a modest ancestor of today’s Magnum, which had the immodest name Feast. Its chocolate shell was thinner than a Magnum’s and the ice cream beneath was chocolate. What made a Feast feel like a feast was the thick chocolate square that encased its stick; you licked away ice cream to uncover a chocolate bar. Straight from the freezer, a Feast could be a bit on the hard side, but hiding in your pocket as you queued for a ticket to Flight of the Navigator or Condorman made it welcomingly soft by the time you were together in the dark. 

Fergal McNally, Ireland

I remember eating plain popcorn like the one you get at PTA events. But friends with better memories remember eating a local brand of chocolate-covered raisins, and chocolate bars.

Juanita Jaramillo, Colombia

In the 80’s in England they sold Maltesers, the (superior) UK version of Whoppers, in boxes. They were ideal for passing down a row of seatmates, although a bit noisy. The aim of my sister and I: sucking the chocolate off the malted honeycomb center until just before it dissolved and then quickly eating a bit of salty popcorn — Maltesers with a popcorn chaser.

Rachel Roddy, England

My favorite movie snack, by a mile, is Raisinets. It’s a strong and divisive choice. Most people are repelled by them, but there’s almost no movie that isn’t better with Raisinets. And if you go to the movies with me and think I’ll share them with you, you’re dead wrong.

Naz Riahi, United States

In my hometown there was a candy shop next door to the cinema and even though it was strictly forbidden to bring outside snacks in, everyone did it. I’d buy Fantales and Jaffas at the shop and choctops at the cinema.

Fantales are a hard caramel-covered chocolates that have fun cinema facts printed on the wrappers, Jaffas are candy-coated chocolates with orange flavor, and choctops are ice cream cones dipped in chocolate. My cinema did them in-house — they’d scoop the ice cream into cones (boysenberry and chocolate mint were the best), dip them in chocolate, and seal them in plastic bags ready for the screenings.

Bec Allison, Australia

When I was a kid, movies were a time to eat candy, which we didn’t usually have around the house. I’d get some gummies (worms, bears, Dots, anything) and my mom would have a box of Junior Mints. I usually prefer popcorn these days, but if I’m in the mood for something sweet, nostalgia leads me right back to gummies.

Doug Mack, United States

I’m one of those annoying people who will bring an entire meal into a theatre and turn it into a full dinner-and-a-movie experience. I once smuggled in a huge Whole Foods salad, a drink, and a dessert.

It turns out it’s hard to put on salad dressing in the dark.

Anne Thériault, Canada