Friday, October 7, 2011

Food Films

If there is anything I might love more than food it is films. DH likes to joke that in the 30 years combined before meeting me he'd seen less movies than in the first year of us dating! I love both big budget blockbusters and beautiful, smaller budget arthouse films alike but what I truly love are films that feature food.
This past week we had the chance to attend an early screening of Toast, chef and food personality Nigel Slater's food memoir. The sweet and tender film takes its name from the one food item his mother could cook without fail. "It's impossible not to love a person who makes you toast." So true, Nigel, so true.
The food styling in the film is fantastic, from the failings of he and mom's cake attempt to the glorious lemon meringue pie (baked by the housekeeper-come-second wife, Mrs. Potter, played wonderfully by Helen Bonham-Carter). Truly, this may be the most beautiful pie depicted on screen... certainly the highest!
Toast led me to thinking of my favorite food-themed films. There are so many films that feature food in one way or another; as in My Dinner with Andre or Breakfast Club, where in food is an integral part of the setting or character development, though there aren't too many food themed films. 
Food theme film lists are by no means a new thing. I just thought it might be fun to recall a few of mine, in no particular order...
 Babette's Feast; 1987
Set in 19th Century Denmark, Babette, the French Catholic housekeeper at a stiff Protestant church, sets out to prepare a feast to honor the late father's 100th birthday. The feast washes away judgements and provides a taste of pleasure to the Danish townspeople.

Tampopo; 1985
I dare ANYONE to watch Tampopo and not desperately crave a bowl of ramen 5 minutes in! In this silly food-centric Japanese film, a hot-to-trot trucker, Goro comes to town to help Tampopo start a fast food noodle shop but there are several wonderful noodle-centric vignettes as well. 

Volver; 2006
The food of Volver practically steals every scene of Almodovar's female-centric film spanning 3 generations of woman. Be it the tortilla espanola or pisto manchego, the recipes prepared in Volver were among Pedro Almodovar's childhood favorites.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; 1971
Shann and I watched this one film more times as kids than I care to count. It never got old though. That candy store with the moving ladder was the stuff kid-dreams are made of. Truly. And the scene where they enter the Chocolate Factory? Utopia!
I watched this version again recently and it occurred to me only as an adult, every kid (except Charlie, of course) has some weird food issue. Violet with the gum, Agustus with the chocolate, Veruka with the golden egg, Mike Teevee with the TV dinners...I guess that was the point, though.

Ratatouille; 2007
I was determined to include only live action food films but Ratatouille is just too great! From the friendship of Remy and Emile (who Shann lovingly compares to the two of us) to the fabulous depiction of the snobby food critic, Anton Ego (Pixar villans are my absolute favorite) this film is impossible not to love!

What's your favorite food film? 
Please share in the comment box below!

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