Archive for May, 2010

“I don’t speak shellfish”

May 26, 2010

There’s that scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen’s Alvy Singer is huddling in terror at the prehistoric, scorpion-like lobster scuttling across the kitchen floor, while Diane Keaton’s Annie is laughing hysterically.  It’s funny and tender at the same time because it shows you the disparate personalities of these two people, and in spite of their inability to comprehend each other, they’re trying to make it work.

Nora Ephron did a variation of this scene in Julie and Julia where Julie and her husband are trying to work up the nerve to plunge a live lobster into the pot.  It’s routine and spiritless, because it lacks the spontaneous charm of the chemistry between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton.  The one thing I did like though was Julie’s description of how Julia Child instructed her viewers on how to kill the lobster: she’d cleave it right between the eyes with aplomb of an axe murderer.

Audrey and Katharine in the Kitchen

May 2, 2010

Remember the idea of sexual politics in the 1940s and 50s?   There’s always that image of the immaculately coiffed young woman, in full makeup, wearing an apron and standing over a pot roast, shooing the man away from the kitchen.

That image was stigmatized in the 70s and 80s, where there was a general trend for women to charge through in the workforce and order in takeout.  Then, around 2001, the children of those women started to un-stigmatize the image.  There was a plethora of books and shows about cooking and being proud of doing your own cooking: Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa, and a whole lot I can’t even begin to think of…

So, someone on YouTube, afrenchindublin (I assume an Irish expat in Paris??) was enterprising and creative enough to put together a montage that show various clips from classic movies of Katharine Hepburn (Woman of the Year), Barbara Stanwyck (Ball of Fire), and Audrey Hepburn (Sabrina) cooking, or attempting to cook.  And there’s that brilliant scene of Jack Lemmon in The Apartment, trying to strain spaghetti with his tennis racket.