Every food-obsessed person has had to answer this question: What are your favorite food-related movies? In anticipation of this year’s Oscars—and a four-hour awards ceremony for films we’ve never seen—we’re going to list our favorite food movies. PS: We want to hear yours! What films made you cry, laugh, and eat? List them in the comments section below. Here we go:
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
This is the nightmare kitchen: all meat, steam, sweat, and truly loathsome customers. But, also, it’s the dream kitchen: all grandeur, tenderness, and teamwork. The meals are fantastically carnal and you’ll get to see Helen Mirren have passionate sex in the dry goods (as one does). PS: The whole thing is free on YouTube, so, if you haven’t seen it, do it right now. PSS: It’s not work-appropriate, so be sure to wear your ear buds.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
A poem to the rigors and rewards of craftsmanship for craftsmanship’s sake, this beautiful movie made me cry.
Which cook hasn’t thought his customers were Philistines? I know I did—early and often. Watch Stanley Tucci (with hair!) and Tony Shalhoub struggle with a small restaurant, big bills, and the temptation to degrade their art with commerciality. Best line ever said of a customer? “She is a criminal.” See it, below.
Total fish out of water Chef Babette goes from Paris to some bleak Scandinavian wasteland where alcohol is not consumed (gasp) and food is almost completely represented by salted, dried fish. It’s dreary beyond toleration, so she turns these folks on to sexy food and drink. All sorts of friskiness ensues. I love when she makes the decadent cailles en sarcophage (quails in coffins), which just sounds so naughty.
The way I see it, this is a movie about food with some gangster content. Check out the way the jailed mafiosi carefully shave the garlic so thin that it liquefies in the oil.
Oh, and what the hell. Here’s my favorite sequence: coke, Harry Nilson, the DEA copter, and tomato sauce, which is really the critical part because you have to stir it so it doesn’t scorch. It kinda says it all: In this movie, the sauce ultimately scorches. See, it works on two levels.
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
How’s this for random? This movie is about not eating food. In this documentary, Joe Cross is an Aussie with an eating problem and a nasty autoimmune condition who goes on an extended juice fast. What I love is that the story is all personal and heartfelt, but also quite funny. The soundtrack features multiple covers of the Men at Work classic, “Down Under.”
Eat Drink Man Woman
This is slightly weepy for me, as it’s all about fathers and daughters. But it’s also total chef porn—expect the beautifully photographed cooking sequences to make you hungry.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Trippy as all hell and, actually, pretty dark. I love that our hero Wonka is not childlike—he’s flat-out childish, and kinda rotten. Plus, who hasn’t wanted to torture a bratty kid? This movie really goes for it. Any cook with a bratty child in his place of business can identify with what happens.
Sex, noodles, and a “ramen” Western (rather than a “spaghetti Western”). I’m thinking, why not? The Western was already taken on by Kurasawa in Seven Samurai, but not with so much food. You’ll never look at a bowl of ramen the same way again.
Posh Nosh (British TV Show)
Okay, this is a TV show, but it’s that good. Wonderfully pervy and pretentious Hon. Simon and Minty Marchmont have a cooking show in which they say things like this bottarga is as “firm and moist as Tom Cruise after a hot bath.” Even though it’s a spoof of a stand-and-stir home-cooking program, real food is prepared. Verbs are particularly enjoyed in this short, 10-minute program on which ingredients are “strip-searched,” “embarrassed,” and “gently gushed” into submission. PS: The whole run is on YouTube.
So, those are mine—tell us yours. What are your favorite food or wine movies and shows?
Pre-Valentine’s Day “Lover’s Quarrel” with The Cookery at Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
Friday, February 8, 8:30 pm – 11 pm
Singles $65, or $110 per couple (includes unlimited beer, wine, and punch)
Tickets available here
This is the kind of message that I get from the diseased minds at The Cookery. Seriously, they’re like nasty bulletins from hell, except with more pork: “On Valentine’s Day, let the undisputed kings of brewing join the perverted chefs of The Cookery to administer an unmercifully nonconformist Valentine’s Day debacle. Forget about the Hallmark holiday hearts, overpriced prix-fixe menus, and lame-ass roses on the table. True love starts at the Brewery (and we haven’t come to kiss).” Yikes!
So, of course, we’re going.
-pizza from the DoughNation brick oven
-wood-roasted marrow with balsamic onions and grilled tuscan bread
-crispy duck with fennel salt
-red beet arancini with goat cheese
-duck liver parfait with grilled Tuscan bread and amaretto gelee
-house pickles (kirbys, baby beets, cauliflower, radish, and Brussels sprouts)
-black kale salad with boiled eggs onions and quince vinegar
-assortment of assorted cheeses with wood baked bread and truffle honey
-braised pork with apple mustard
-braised ox tail
-confit of veal breast
-baby back ribs
-butternut squash lasagna
PLT (Porchetta, Lettuce, and Tomato) from Polpettina
Oh yes, please. We’re talking just-roasted porchetta stepping into the place of bacon. But you’re thinking, “What? Replace bacon? Are you out of your mother-lovin’ mind?” Look, I understand your fears, but let me explain something about this pork. It’s sweet. It’s greasy. It’s lush and all kinds of sexy. It’s just the thing, snuggled under a bed of tomato, arugula, and roasted garlic aioli. Would I steer you wrong?
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