Thursday, November 27, 2014

Best Food Movies!

Now that I've recovered from my turkey-stuffing-green beans-sweet potatoes-cranberry-roll-apple spice cake Thanksgiving dinner, and the obligatory leftovers of turkey-cranberry sandwich on toasted rye with sweet potatoes on the side, let's discuss the best food movies ever!

I blogged about Jiro Dreams of Sushi at my other blog, from a Christian perspective. But if you want to every detail of sushi from the buying to the preparing to the eating, and see a lovely, incredible art form of making sushi at its world highest level, this movie is for you. You WILL be hungry for sushi after.

Babette's Feast. (In Dutch with subtitles) I saw this when it first came out in 1987. It is so hard to believe it has been that long. Sigh. Anyway, it is an amazing movie. As Epicurious.com describes the film:
Almost a quarter-century after the film's release, the culminating scene of this quietly urgent Danish drama still stands as the most beautifully rendered depiction of a lavish meal ever committed to celluloid. But it's not just spectacle for spectacle's sake: The triumphant banquet sequence also communicates volumes about the movie's central theme, the eternal tug-of-war between self-denial and sensual gratification.

Big Night: two Italian brothers in 1950s NJ run a restaurant that's failing. The elder brother (Tony Shaloub) mourns that the locals do not appreciate his delicate touch, while the younger (Stanley Tucci) persistently trues to convince his brother to try new approaches. They pin their last hopes on cooking for Louis Prima.

Kings of Pastry: once every four years French pastry competition. Lovely artistic sugar creations! Coupled with the drama and heartbreak of competition. It's gripping and absorbing...and beautiful.

The Moo Man- Yes, it is about milk. Wikipedia, "The film focusses on a small dairy farm run by Steve Hook, which produces and sells raw, unpasteurised organic milk. Near Hailsham, Sussex, Longleys Farm is situated on the Pevensey Levels. The farm was started by Steve's father Phil, who is still involved in the business, and who also features in the film, along with Steve's wife and four children. The film covers Steve's struggles to keep the 55-head-herd farm afloat in the face of the power of the supermarkets, and shows his close relationship with his cows, especially Ida, a 12-year-old Friesian. The documentary was filmed over four years." It sounds boring. It isn't.

Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers: documentary is an ode to "the stinking rose". As the reviewer in IMDBcom said, "This is a very good movie about garlic with shots from the Gilroy Garlic Festival and lots of good information about cooking with garlic from some of the best cooks in the SF Bay Area. I view this as a comprehensive guide to garlic provided in a very entertaining fashion. "

The Restauranteur: IMDB, "A film about the grueling construction of not one but two world class restaurants. We follow Danny Meyer, arguably the most successful restaurateur in America. Our cameras follow the creation of Eleven Madison Park and Tabla during the hellish eleven month construction process. Meyer imparts his business and restaurant philosophy while trying to keep his cool. Jumping back to the future, 2009, we learn how the restaurants have evolved, EMP receiving a coveted four stars by The New York Times. The title card sparked cheers in the audience at The Sonoma Film Festival, where the film was awarded Best Documentary - Food." It's really fascinating to get an insider view of what it's like to build and maintain a restaurant, and the restaurateur's philosophy of the food/dining experience. Look for a young Tom Colicchio- with hair.

Other films with food as an important plot point but not about food per se are Mystic Pizza with a young Julia Roberts and Bagdad Cafe with CCH Pounder, Jack Palance and Marianne S├Ągebrecht. For sheer quirk-to-food information ratio, you can't beat either of those movies.

TV show- The Supersizers Go... A BBC production of food history in Britain. Restaurant critic Giles Coren and comedian Sue Perkins live and eat their way through the cuisine of six different eras in Britain's history. The duo are seen by a doctor prior, then they eat, live, and dress as if they were actually living in the era (Edwardian, Restoration, WWII, Elizabethan, 1970s, and Regency. My favorite episodes were the 70s and Wartime (WWII). After ward they are seen by a doctor again and some of the eras provide surprising results as to how healthy or unhealthy their diet was. The Restoration era offered some truly sickening food but it was normal to the people living at the time. I mean, Lamb's face?  And worse. They pair gamely eat all of it. Extremely interesting, and also very entertaining!

3 comments:

Grace to You said...

Thanks for the movie recommendations!

For the most part I have had a fairly utilitarian relationship with food since I don't love to cook, but I have had a couple of stand-out experiences with food I'd love to share if you don't mind. (I'll assume you don't :)

Twenty-five years ago I was living in a tiny little town in central NC. I worked at a bank downtown and right across the street was one of the most amazing coups for a tiny little town ever - a restaurant owned by an incredibly talented European chef. My co-worker and I would look every morning at the chalkboard set up outside the restaurant door to see what the specials for the day were, and we would spend most of the morning deciding what we were going to choose from the list of gourmet options. We would sigh in almost-heavenly ecstasy while we ate our lunch, then we would spend the rest of the afternoon discussing all the delightful aspects of it. I was young so I could get away with such nonsense, and it was worth every. single. calorie. :)

Around this same time a farm began nearby, the Goat Lady Dairy, and several years later the owners began hosting dinners for just a handful of weekends in the spring and fall. They sold out quickly but after several failed attempts I was able to secure tickets for myself and a friend and we soon found ourselves seated among a group of about 50 diners in a new cavernous barn-like building set up for the occasion. After a tour of the farm and the goat-milking and cheese-making operations, we began

what would turn out to be a 2-hour, 6-course meal. The courses were perfectly sized and the pace was slow, with the owner explaining the origins of everything we were enjoying as it was served. It was by far the most exquisite dining experience I've ever had the privilege of partaking in, and I've often remembered it as I've thought about the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Elizabeth Prata said...

those are definitely two very wonderful memories! Thank you so much for sharing them :)

Zuriel said...

You might also enjoy "Mostly Martha," a movie about a woman chef who unexpectedly has to care for her sister's child. There's probably more focus on the story than the food, but there's some nice food stuff in there as well. In German (with English subtitles). Wonderfully well done, poignant. Think you'd enjoy her journey. :)