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.


Spanglish and “The World’s Greatest Sandwich”>

April 30, 2010

a very intimidatingly dense, rich, runny egg sandwich, made by Adam Sandler in Spanglish

The 2004 James L. Brooks movie Spanglish isn’t really a great movie. It’s not even a great romantic comedy. Adam Sandler seemed kind of awkward in a role that demanded a little more smoothness and grace in a leading man. The star of the movie was really Tea Leoni as a controlling L.A. socialite/mom, who took passive-aggression to new comic heights. The other star of the movie was the sandwich that Adam Sandler’s character (a successful chef and restauranteur) makes one night when he wants to enjoy a quiet meal alone.

The ingredients are some good, dense bread, mayo generously spread on both sides, lettuce, (some other stuff..?) and a meticulously runny egg.

I don’t know what it is about this sandwich that fascinates me, why it haunts my dreams, but I think it’s the egg. It’s a perfect example of slightly relaxed, seemingly sloppy, but methodically crafted food that’s really so good.

A Good Year and the intoxication of Provence

April 24, 2010

Dinner table scene in Ridley Scott’s A Good Year, based on the Peter Mayle book

A Good Year is probably not a movie people will readily associate with Ridley Scott, or remember him by, but it’s a movie that does a remarkable job of creating a sense of mood and atmosphere. When Russell’s Crowe’s character Max, walks through his uncle’s sun-drenched vineyard, the old swimming pool, the gardens, you get a wonderful sense of place and a palpable feeling of the land.
That candelit dinner scene was also really well played out.

In a recent Anthony Bourdain episode where he goes to Provence and has this incredible meal of handmade, pungent garlic aoili, with boiled potatoes, fennel, carrots, and lightly baked fish, he says (slightly callously) “This is classic poor people’s food.” His host, gets slightly indignant and replies, “Yes, but in Provence, everybody was poor.” The resourcefulness and ingenuity of Provencal cooks to take simple farm produce, seafood and poultry and flavor them with local herbs and pair them with incredible locally produced wines, is so outstanding that the style of cooking is replicated almost everywhere in the world.


Movie Food

April 24, 2010

Kirk Douglas hamming it up for Sophia Loren over a plate of spaghetti, c. 1954

Who doesn’t love movies, and who doesn’t love food? Over the course of a couple of posts, I’m going to be looking at certain scenes from movies involving food, that have stayed in my mind. The visual impact of movies in regards to eating, pleasure, and the emotional significance of certain meals and foods, is so compelling and sometimes overlooked. The presence of food and eating in movies is often so seemingly innocuous we tend to pass it over. Thinking about it, I was surprised at all the examples of great “food movies” that came to my mind.

Atlanta Fresh Greek Yogurt

April 1, 2010

The creamiest, coolest, freshest yogurt--made by Atlanta Fresh Artisan Creamery

The growing need to turn to locally made, organically-produced, fresh food has brought about all sorts of small businesses specializing in great new products.  At any Atlanta-area Whole Foods Market, you’ll find the most amazing yogurt you’re likely to tase.

Atlanta Fresh Artisan Creamery, a local dairy, is making the smoothest, freshest yogurt that makes Yoplait seem like watered-down, flavorless, white goo.  Cashing in on the FAGE Greek yogurt craze, they make their own in a variety of decadent flavors: peach and stem ginger, mixed berries, tawny port, and vanilla caramel. The whole milk vanilla caramel (that comes in the orange packaging) is a kind of cosmic experience…

Here’s more about the producers

But go to Whole Foods and try it yourself!