Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nom, Nom, Nom (Movie Edition)

Are there two more gorgeous people than Campbell Scott and Isabella Rossellini in their prime? This shot is from one of my favorite movies, Big Night. Of course, Big Night is a lovely, touching and appetite-inducing film about hope and family and the silence in which two brothers can say more than any spoken words could. Oh, and food. Tons and tons of food. A feast fit for a king, actually.

Brothers Primo (Tony Shaloub) and Secundo (Stanley Tucci) run a failing Italian restaurant at the Jersey Shore in the 1950's. Perfectionists, they serve their family recipes to patrons who don't always appreciate their efforts. When they hear that singer Louis Prima may be coming for a meal while in town, the two set about preparing a massive dinner party, invite all their friends and family and wait for Prima to show. The meal they prepare is one of the best ever set to celluloid, and features a timpano, a sort of pasta; meat; cheese and sauce pie, so named because of its resemblance to a drum.

Minnie Driver, Allison Janney, Ian Holm and Liev Schrieber all take part in the meal, which immediately induces the need to eat pasta and other evil carbohydrates.

I mention the timpano in particular, because it was part of our latest themed dinner party, "Food from Movies." Even now, several hours after eating, I am stuffed. We started out innocently enough, I suppose. The appetizer was cheese fondue, inspired by La fondue. Next was salad (Uncle Prospero's contribution): Warm Goat Cheese and Endive Salad with Pears and Candied Nuts, inspired by There Will Be Blood. I made some minor alterations to the rather expensive recipe I found on Epicurious and would make some adjustments if I made it again, but the end result was still a delicious and unusual salad which everyone enjoyed.

Then came the three-dish entree: Beef Bourguignon (from Julie & Julia); the timpani and sweet Mary's last-minute, "I-was-freaking-out" chicken tetrazzini (from "It's gotta be in some Italian movie," though I'm convinced it's because Mary is obsessed with this); all of which were delicious, labor-intensive and calorie-laden. And then to end things off, using a real movie recipe from Waitress, Mary made a "My Baby Was Crying and I Was Up All Night" cheesecake for dessert. Creamy, delicious and not at all too rich, it was the perfect way to end another successful gathering of most of my longest and dearest friends.

Tomorrow it's high-fiber, high-protein, low-fat all the way. In fact, I may not eat at all.

And since this post mentions one of my favorite food movies, I suppose I should mention my very favorite food movie, Tampopo.

This Japanese version of the classic Western Shane, is about a mysterious trucker who helps a widowed mother to make the ultimate ramen. Interspersed are several tales which all revolve around food, including the story of two gangland lovers who share some rather erotic eating experiences and the story of a woman who rises from her sickbed to prepare the best meal of her life before happily dropping dead. I couldn't find a dubbed or subtitled trailer, but you'll get the idea from this original Japanese version of it:

Over the next two months, you know we will all be indulging a little bit more than usual. And while I will continue to strive to be good (-27 lbs and counting), I know there will be plenty of temptations I simply won't be able to resist. And that's OK. We're all only human, aren't we?

More, anon.

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