Random Appetites: Foodie Movies

So last week we talked about writers and booze, this week we’ll switch to movies and food!

Some of my favorite movies are ones that use food as a central theme. The first that comes to mind is Like Water for Chocolate which, despite the need to “read” the movie (subtitles make it difficult to have movies in the background), is a wonderful story about passion. Even though it’s fictional, it’s still one of the best examples I’ve seen about the power of emotions and how they can affect food. Seriously, two people cooking the same dish from the same recipe with the same ingredients in the same kitchen can produce two different results; the reason being the intent or involvement of the cook.

Okay, okay, metaphysics aside, a more recent favorite in the same cuisine region is Tortilla Soup starring Hector Elizondo and a host of other true talents. Supposedly a Latino-version of Eat Drink Man Woman (I wouldn’t know firsthand, having not seen that one yet, but it’s on the list) it’s a fabulous look at family dynamics both around the dinner table and elsewhere.

Speaking of the dinner table, Soul Food is another feel-good family-dinner movie that I find myself stopping to watch whenever it comes on.

Since I’m me and I love to throw parties with themes and we almost always end up watching movies, I’d pick a couple of the above and serve food based on the movie’s regions or even dishes served therein. But that’s just me 😉

For dessert I suggest, what else: Chocolat. I actually didn’t think I’d like this one too much but I’ve seen it several times now and my fondness for it grows with repetition. I think it might have been, at least in part, that I didn’t watch it closely enough the first couple of times and so missed a lot. This is what happens when I put movies on for background “noise” while I’m working on other things. (I call it the 007-syndrome, since I tend to do the same with Bond movies even though I know better.)

Now, there is one foodie movie I would not suggest–at least not to the faint of heart. When I was in Culinary School, my favorite chef recommended I watch a movie called The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, which was described to me as British farce. Um, yeah… That movie is absolutely twisted and I would NOT suggest theming a dinner party to match. At least not to those with weak stomachs and a failing sense of humor. I would not call this one a comedy and was thrust thoroughly into a mood. My boyfriend at the time tried to cheer me up with Popeye but I could not be brought out of the depths that movie inspired. (Not that Robin Williams aping about as a spinach-swilling sailor is my cup of tea, but you gotta give him credit for trying!) If you _do_ want British farce and food, however, give Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe a try, if you can find it.