Meet the Parents is an American comedy records a series of unfortunate events that befall a good-hearted but miserable male nurse while visiting his girlfriend’s parents.
Ben Stiller plays a young man who endures a disastrous weekend at the home of his girlfriend’s parents. Greg Focker (Stiller) is completely in love with Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo), and views their upcoming trip to her parents’ house on Long Island (where her sister is to be married during the weekend) as a perfect opportunity to ask her to marry him. Once Greg is introduced to Pam’s parents, however, things stampede steadily downhill. Pam’s father, Jack (Robert De Niro), takes an instant and obvious dislike to his daughter’s boyfriend, lambasting him for his job as a nurse and generally making Greg painfully aware of the differences between him and Pam’s family. Where Greg is grubby, relatively unambitious, and Jewish, Pam comes from a long line of well-mannered, blue-blooded WASPs. Things go from bad to worse in less time than it takes to spin a dreidel, with Greg incurring the wrath of both Pam’s father — who, it turns out, worked for the CIA for 34 years — and the rest of her family, and almost single-handedly destroying their house and the wedding in the process.
Jewish characters at mealtime are explained as part of the broader movement started in the 1960s where filmmakers started producing work that explored the “Jewish self-definition.” The dinner table becomes an arena where Jewish characters are often and most pointedly put into “conflicts with their ethnic and sexual selves.” In this scene, Greg attempts to recite a prayer by improvising and, in doing so, launches into a recital of the song “Day by Day” from Act I of Godspell. This scene focuses on the establishment of the cultural distance between the Jewish Greg and the Christian Byrnes. The social gap is further widened next morning at breakfast when Greg is the last person to arrive at the breakfast table; he shows up to breakfast wearing pajamas while everyone else is fully clothed. Here Greg is shown as the only person eating a bagel, which is a clear signifier of Jewishness.
Awkward food scene: Gaylord Focker is definitely feeling the pressure during a dinner with his soon-to-be in-laws. When Jack, a former CIA agent, starts a serious interrogation, Gaylord bursts out with an awkward announcement: “I can milk anything with nipples.”
Bagel is one food that Greg loves to eat, let’s see the recipe best for breakfast or brunch:
- 7g sachet dried yeast
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 450g bread flour
- poppy, fennel and/or sesame seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)
- Tip the yeast and 1 tbsp sugar into a large bowl, and pour over 100ml warm water. Leave for 10 mins until the mixture becomes frothy.
- Pour 200ml warm water into the bowl, then stir in the salt and half the flour. Keep adding the remaining flour (you may not have to use it all) and mixing with your hands until you have soft, but not sticky dough. Then knead for 10 mins until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and put in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with cling film and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1hr.
- Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 10 pieces, each about 85g. Shape each piece into a flattish ball, then take a wooden spoon and use the handle to make a hole in the middle of each ball. Slip the spoon into the hole, and then twirl the bagel around the spoon to make a hole about 3cm wide. Cover the bagel loosely with cling film while you shape the remaining dough.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and tip in the remaining sugar. Slip the bagels into the boiling water – no more than four at a time. Cook for 1-2 mins, turning over in the water until the bagels have puffed slightly and a skin has formed. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain away any excess water. Sprinkle over your choice of topping and place on a baking tray lined with parchment. Bake in the oven for 25 mins until browned and crisp – the bases should sound hollow when tapped. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then serve with your favorite filling.