Thankfully, plenty of directors are up to the task. Saveur's 21 Food Films that Make You Want to Cook is a celebration of cinema's great kitchen inspirations.
When food is done well on the big screen, you can practically hear movie audiences dreaming about what to cook once the credits roll. It's hard not to salivate while watching Eat Pray Love's Julia Roberts stuff her famous smile with the golden carbs of Rome. Think of the irresistible opening scene of Eat Drink Man Woman in which a father's percussive knife skills say more about his appetite for life and love for his family than any spoken words could. Or remember Juliette Binoche pouring an unbroken ribbon of hot chocolate from a sterling pitcher in Chocolat as she offers warmth and sweetness to her village neighbors.
Placing food in a featured role can help visuals evoke touch as much as taste. The resistance in the chef's knife as it cuts into Big Night's pasta-filled timpano is as firm as the thick tension at the dinner table. In Japan's Tampopo, when an egg yolk passes unbroken from a man's mouth into the glossed lips of a sighing woman, you may not understand the scene, but you definitely feel it.
Don't miss Saveur's 21 Food Films that Make You Want to Cook, complete with recipes to try when you, inevitably, get hungry.
And tell us -- what's your favorite food scene in a movie?
• Saveur's 21 Food Films that Make You Want to Cook.