Sunday, 11 September 2016

Top 10 films every foodie should see

What does a foodie do when she's too sick to cook or eat? Watches other people do it! Here are my favourite foodie films ever!

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I've spent the past week firmly in bed (no, not with my New Love... unfortunately). My flu once more escalated into a bronchitis so agressive it wouldn't have had any problem taking on John McEnroe at Wimbledons Centre Court. 

As I've spent my days trying not to drown in phlegm (which the body can apparently produce in amazing quantities!) I've been really low on energy and haven't done much cooking. No, make that haven't done any cooking at all

Climbing out of bed turned out to be process that warrants such superhuman efforts it wasn't until the 4th day I finally managed to drag my zombie-like arse to the shop across the street to fetch some ice cream to soothe my sore throat.

That, by the way, just goes to show what a horrible world we live in.  Internet access and credit card enable me to order so many wonderful things online, delivered to my doorstep: pizza, Indian food, plane tickets to Africa, prostitutes.. but no ice cream. Where's the sense in that?

I quickly realized everything on m y to do-list wouldjust have to wait for next week and the day I'd finally be a) able to stand again and b) actually taste anything.

At first I tried to use this sudden spare time in a constructive way. The truth is, however, that when your concentration span is that of a carrot and you can only keep your eyes open for 20 minutes at a time, you swiftly have to abandon any dreams of catching up on film adaptations based on all those Russian literary giants. Which is just as well, seeing how any given film lasts about 3 weeks anyway. Turned out there are only so many (not many) Holocaust dramas one can take when already feeling frazzled. 

So, I sought solace in my true love: food. Here's my Top 10 of best foodie films ever made.

1. Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)

Classic of the classics and one of my first ever foodie film discoveries. 

A retired chef tries to keep his family together by gathering them around weekly dinners. Elaborately cooked dishes are a feast for anyone's eyes.

And if Latino kitchen is closer to your heart...

*Make sure to check out

Tortilla Soup (2001)

The inevitable American take on the previous film, this time with a Mexican twist. Not quite up to the original, but hey, this one's got Hector Elizondo in it. 

2. Like water for Chocolate (1991)

Based on Laura Esquivel's fantastic novel by the same name, this movie is a celebration of carnal pleasures (in every sense of the word) in that unabashedly sensual way South Americans do so well. 

Dysfunctional families play crucial part of this film as well, as does communicating through food and trying to mend the ties by gathering everyone for a meal.

3. Julie & Julia (2009)

This film depicts the lives of two very different women in two very different times and the love they share for food. 

A delightful film despite the fact both Amy Adams' lacklustre blogger character and Meryl Streep's flamboyant portrayal of Julia Child (which, in all fairness, she was in real life, too) occasionally do my head in. 

Vive le cooking! Vive le blogging! Vive le enjoyment!

*Do also check out:

Haute Cuisine (2012)

If French cuisine speaks to you (and pourquoi on Earth wouldn't it?), this film; a celebration of French culinary traditions and local produce they take such pride in, is pour toi. 

4. Big Night (1996)

Drama, comedy, melancholy, passion... and lots and lots of lovely Italian food.

The final scene of this film that charts the fateful moments of an Italian restaurant owned by two brothers is full of wistful beauty and reminds that at the end of the day a family that eats together, stays together. 

* Do also check out:

Dinner Rush (2000)

Also taking place in an Italian restaurant this film has no shortage of any of the classics/ clichés... including organized crime.

When do We Eat (2005)

Though not the food porn that the other films on this list are, this film well and truly warrants a place on my list (and no, it's not just because of the Holocaust reference...)

Dysfunctional families and attemps to fix things with food are seem to be a universal thing that all cultures and religions share. Perhaps those two themes pretty much sumarize what life is al about? 

This one deals with one Jewish family and their rather unorthodox Passover seder. Next year in Jerusalem? Next year in nowhere? Who can tell. Oy, vey.

5. Today's Special (2011)

This film, too, depicts the harsh reality of restaurant world. Other key ingredients are rediscovering one's cultural and culinary traditions, finding one's place in the world, crazy families, masala... and love.

*Do also check out:

The Lunchbox (2013)

This is another film that celebrates the delights of Indian cuisine; cooked with time and love.

6. Mostly Martha (2001)

German romantic comedy about a chef who only lives for her profession.  Life has some serious lessons in store for her on life, relinquishing control and finding happiness. 

*Do not check out:

As can be expected, the Americans came out with a reake of this called "No reservations" and starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhardt and some seriously lukewarm chemistry.

7. Burnt (2015)

Located in the ruthless and fascinating world of Michelin restaurants, this films examines its huge egos, their unwavering passion, incredible skills and continuous fight for the spotlight. 

Some serious eye candy for any foodie (and no, I wasnät even thinking about Bradley Cooper!)

* Do also check out:

Chef (2014)

Another film that explores the themes of pride, the fall and sunsequent rise. In this one the passion is rediscovered through cheerful Cuban sounds and street kitchens. 

8. The Hundred Foot Journey (2014)

This film takes a rather wonderful book and turns it into Hollywood candy. Many things that made the original story so great and scintillating are left out and replaced with overtly obvious accessories, but for a foodie it is so full of such gastronomic bliss that it more than warrants its place on the list.

Incredible performances by Helen Mirren and Om Puri leave one thinking how anybody else could have even played those parts.

* Do also check out:

Chocolat (2010)

Directed by the very Lasse Hallström that was responsible for the previous film, this, too, oozes diabetes-inducing saccharine sweetness.

This, too, is largely saved by fantastic actors and the dhamelessly hedonistic scenes of turning chcolate into, well, magic. 

Make sure to watch it with a huge box of chocolates!

9. Jiro dreams of sushi (2011)

Stunning documentary of a stunning master of his trade. Jiro Ono owns a tiny sushi place (the restaurants only seats 10) in a Tokyo metro station and is the first ever sushi chef to be awarded 3 Michelin stars.

His dedication to his craft leaves the viewer speechless even if you thought you were not into sushi.

* Do also check out:

Spinning Plates (2014)

This film sends shivers down one's spine - it is that good. It showcases three top restaurants and the geniuses behind them. Ever wondered how much work and effort and time and development can go into a mouthful of food that's devoured  seconds? A lot. 

A lot. 

Chef's Table (2015 -)

This TV series that can be found on Netflix is made with such passion, which is fitting considering it follows such passionate restauranteurs. 

After watching this anyone is guaranteed to finally understand what Earth-shattering art for all senses food at its very best is. 

10. Foodies (2014)

This documentary turns the spotlight to the other side of the table: to the most discerning and devoted of foodies. 

Whether or not their hobby and passion have (in some cases) slipped into an annoying display of conceded snobbery is, of course, in the eye of (a very jealous?) beholder. 

How many of these have you guys seen? Did I leave out something I shouldn't have? Make sure to let me in on your recomendations as well!





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