Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Food Films

A big part of my Anthro class is on the food film genre. The genre really took off in the mid 80s, but until then we watched the scenes that most movies show - no one preparing food, an unseen server, and generally people sitting down to a beautifully laid out feast, but not eating it.

According to The Prof., there are some critical factors that place a film in the "Food" genre:

1. Food must be central to the plot

2. The director must highlight the food
- this means mouth watering close ups!

3. Preparation and the cooking of food must be featured

4. Both the serving and eating of food should be shown

5. Food must be influential to the life of at least one character

So far I've seen Like Water For Chocolate (Como agua para chocolate, 1992) from Mexico, and Bella Martha (2001) from Germany (the latter was re-made in English under the title No Reservations (2007), with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart in 2007).

We also watched a bit of Eat Drink Man Women (Yin shi nan nu, 1994) yesterday in class. I've been trying to rent this for awhile now, but it always seems out. Out of these few I've seen, this one seemed the most intriguing, dealing with issues surrounding taste, cooking, eating and communication via food.

Others on the list include The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), Babette's Feast (1987), Felicia's Journey (1999), Kitchen Stories (2003), and Soul Food (1997). I don't think we'll get to all of these in class, but they seem like good enough Friday night movies to me.

And although this is a slightly different food film, Food, Inc. will be shown tomorrow night (Thursday) at 6:30PM at the Stanley Milner Theatre, as part of the Downtown Docs series. I've been trying to sit down and see it for awhile, and now that it's relating to my research project for class, I might just have to trek over and catch it there.

On another note, we are off to Blue Pear this evening for Fork Fest. Although we wanted to check out Culina Highland, we had some other plans come up and decided to cancel our reservation. There is an interesting thread on Chowhound, mostly about the price increase for the event (scroll to the bottom for 2010 stuff). I'm not sure what to think yet, but for now, I'm satisfied with what we will be getting for $45 at Blue Pear.

I thought I should have some photos somewhere in this post, so here are the ones I've been meaning to post for awhile, but haven't gotten to:

We used up the last of my reserved, frozen Pizza Napoletana dough (from The Bread Baker's Apprentice) this past week. This is the best dough recipe I've encountered - it's easy to work with (I even managed to do some half-tosses), it freezes well, and it gets crispy and airy pretty quickly on the stone. This is Charles' pizza above, with some leftover Irvine's Bacon, mozzarella and onion.

**There are also about half a dozen copies floating around with EPL. I'm not sure why I automatically linked to Amazon.ca, but here is the link to the libraries' copies.

La Cocotte - We found this at Hendrix, after a good bit of price checking around the City. It was a good $100 or so cheaper than we found it anywhere else, plus it was boxing day and this was their last one, which was also the display model. We've been using it quite a bit, about 2 or 3 times a week, and it's great - so far we've roasted a couple chickens, made osso buco, braised sausages, short ribs, pulled pork and other things and are more than happy with its performance.

Lemon Glazed Madeleines from David Lebovitz' blog - my experience was almost as he described it would be for the first timer: the batter to mold ratio needs some work, but otherwise these were light, buttery and lemony.

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