Brussels Sprouts and Movie Stars

Don’t ever wear cheap black heels to a movie premiere.

Here is why: though you’ll think to yourself, It’s cool, I’ll be sitting the whole time, it’s a movie, you’ll have forgotten that after the actual movie is a whole party. The party is in fact the point.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be at one of the good parties, one of the ones thrown by a studio with money to burn on its tentpoles. The best wrap party I ever went to, back when my husband worked in film, was for the first season of Boardwalk Empire, which was held on the actual boardwalk set (which, at the time, was in Brooklyn) and involved fancy carnival-inspired food, like tiny corndogs on sticks, served by catering staff that surely were Gap models in their white button-downs and khakis. There were also carnival games and a lot of excellent things to drink. If you’re ever invited to a party thrown by HBO, don’t ask questions. Just go.

But in my stiff Payless heels and $20 little black dress, I stalked into the Brooklyn Museum for the premiere of Exodus: Gods and Kings, and after the film I stood at a table with my other journalist friends and our dates and cooed over the food.

My husband brought a plate back to the table—beautiful steak, vegetables, potatoes—and one thing in particular sent me back to the buffet, too: mixed roasted green beans and brussels sprouts. I got a plateful.

Nothing tastes more vegetable-y than brussels sprouts, which might be why kids don’t like them. They’re a little bitter and definitely taste like they grew in the ground, no matter what you do to them. But when you’re an adult, sometimes that’s exactly what you want.

The only right way to prepare brussels sprouts is this: get them fresh, none of this frozen business. Cut them in half from head to foot, so you split the stem in half lengthwise, too. Spread them out on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. They can touch, but not too close. Drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Put the sheet in the oven and roast them at 400 degrees for a while, till they look like you want to eat them.

Certainly few children grow up craving bowls full of roasted brussels sprouts, but when we grow up it becomes comfort food. Comfort food is not exactly what you’re expecting to encounter at a glitzy premiere party, surrounded by movie stars and rappers and Zac Posen, but it is okay to eat comfort food in a place like that, and to be okay with staying content to watch Aaron Paul and Christian Bale walk around and talk to people, because you have the best food prepared the best way—and it will be followed with caramelized cream puffs and tiny macarons brought around on silver trays, and it is the best night.

Film Critic at @Voxdotcom |