American Beauty film matched with petal powered food

Starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening & Thora Birch



– Lester Burnham (Spacey) is a pathetic man married to a ‘fabulous’ woman, Carolyn (Benning). They live in a sensational house in a lovely area of middle America. Their one daughter, Jane, (Birch) is completely different, she’s honest, frustrated and tired of their fake ‘happy’ faces.
– Change is in the air as Lester loses his job and the new neighbours move in next door. The father is ex-military (Chris Cooper) and the mother an almost comatose housewife (Allison Janney). They, too, have a single child, teenager, Ricky (Wes Bentley). He’s an odd-bod but Jane starts to like him.
– Back in ‘happyland’, Carolyn pretends to be fulfilled in her job as a real estate agent and has an affair with fellow agent Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher). Misery gains momentum as Lester starts going crazy and Jane’s friend Angela (Mena Suvari) becomes Lester’s obsession. Eeeeek factor.
– Then there’s tension between the new neighbours as friendships are misinterpreted and secret struggles are brought to the surface. Somehow, the strange people find beauty in this place of naked honesty and ugliness in deceit, even if it appears happy.


When you think of American Beauty what is the first thing that pops into your mind? It’s red, its floral, it’s rose petals, right? Well prepare to be drowned in the awesome taste of rose petals ‘cos I’ve got a few for you to munch on while you watch this sad, sad tale. Here’s your entree: Field Salad with Strawberries, Kumquats and Rose Petals. Healthy yum, yum!


This is one of those films. You either love it or hate it. It’s an intense little number, it’s very confronting and I loved it. I’m not a sicko, I don’t take pleasure in the disturbing parts of this film, it’s just that it’s honest. Suburbia is full of people with pleasant-looking masks. It is a place where appearances are everything… except when they’re not. This movie painfully scratches the suburban mask off. It may sting a little, but in the end it’s clear that masks cannot last forever.

This is a thinking film; a philosophical tale rather than a feel good romantic comedy with no depth. It’s a  modern look at suburbia, at fake happy faces, at the enormous gap between what we want our lives to be like and their reality. It is gross because some people battle with gross stuff. It’s ugly and broken and dark because life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. Finding the beauty within all the chaos and darkness is the key and this is what this film is all about.

Main meal:

I can actually imagine this next dish being served up on the ‘perfect’ dining room table in the ‘perfect’ home of the ‘perfect’ family by the ‘perfect’ wife, Carolyn. It’s fancy pants Grilled Quail with Rose Petals. So it kinda works on both levels, the rose petal one and the fancy pants, how awesome a family are us Burnhams! Here it is…

Grilled quail with rose petals

Image: Ace recipe

American Beauty Trivia:

  • Budget – $15,000,000
  • Kirsten Dunst and Jessica Biel both turned down the role of Angela
  • Paula Abdul choreographed the Spartanette’s dance routine
  • ‘American Beauty’ is referring to a rose that looks lovely on the surface but often suffers from rot at its roots.
  • The scene where Lester applies for the job at the burger joint was actually filmed at night and made to look like it’s daytime.
  • Jane’s appearance changes throughout the film. She gets more makeup on and Angela changes to have less.
  • In the pot scenes, Bentley and Spacey are actually smoking honey tobacco.


Now we all know that rose petals go best with this course and of all the rose petal desserts on the ‘net, this would have to take the cake (pardon the pun). It is Rosewater Pavlovas with Sugared Rose Petals. Say it all together now… Awwww.

Have you ever cooked with flowers?

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