Sunday, May 24, 2009

TV dinners and tasty books

I've been known to unintentionally salivate over imaginary food dangling in front of me on-screen or deliciously penned on the page. Maybe it's because I enjoy eating way too much. (I suffer from "noisy/slurpy eater's syndrome." Sorry Emily Post.). But, I've come to the realization that many of the TV shows, movies and books I obsess over involve lots of food, or descriptions of food.

I blame "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," whose art director is actually a former co-worker over at the UC Davis Department of Theatre & Dance:

Little Debbie, you placement whore!

Or, maybe it all started with this stoney dragon that made friggin' books look delicious:

Whatever the reason, I give you a list of my favorite food frenzied fiction (say that 3 time fast):

1. The Sopranos
It's unfortunate that I couldn't find a good clip with Carmella Soprano cooking the Sunday dinner. Janice is wacky, but this clip is an example of how they go all-out with introducing the food in every scene. There's something about the Italian American pronunciation of classic dishes: gabagool (AKA capicola ham), rigot pie (ricotta pie), chicken parm, etc. Tony's always eatin' "prosciut" straight outta da fridge (and fainting from panic attacks at the sight of it), and good ol' Carm is always re-heating leftover baked ziti for Tony after a hard day's work at Ba-Da-Bing, the local strip joint. Don't even get me started with Vesuvio, the Italian restaurant the wise guys frequent. My favorite food-related Soprano quote is from the big guy himself, yelling at Carmella on the phone: "Yeah, yeah. I'll pick up some sausages. Whaddaya want?! HOT OR SWEET?!" How about both, Tony?

Thankfully, I'm not the only person who worships Sopranos food. Check this out:

2. Eat Drink, Man Woman

In case you've never seen it. It's an Ang Lee film about the three daughters of a Chinese master chef. I think the film starts with dad gutting a fish, which ends up being this elaborate dish in like a matter of cinematic minutes. I guess you could say I was fish-hooked from the get-go. (Good one, Glover.)

3. Like Water for Chocolate, the book

Sigh. Magical realism. The genre gets me every time. Poor Tita cannot marry who she loves, so she cooks and cooks and cooks things like quail in rose petal sauce, turkey mole with almonds and sesame seeds and Chabela wedding cake. I love me some Mexican food. But MAGIC Mexican food (that has medicinal qualities)? Even better. Other magical realists who concoct tasty words: Francesca Lia Block as well as the obvious Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende.

4. Mad Men

All around this addictive AMC show is visually stunning: the beautiful actors, the sets, the costumes and perfect early '60s lingo. But, OMG, the food. First off, the cocktails: Bloody Mary's with huge celery slices during business meetings? Yes, please. A little bourbon and a cigarette? Sure. How about an Old Fashioned or a Tom Collins? Mmm. Secondly, the food: Betty's meatloaf? Of course. Negotiations at dark restaurants with all-you-can-eat oysters topped with lemon and chives? Duh. Ribeye in the pan? Yes, with butter. "Joy of Cooking" fans and alcoholics everywhere are STOKED. And so are bloggers. A ton of foodie blogs are dishing out Mad Men-inspired recipes.

5. Hook
Sorry dudes. I simply could not exclude this bang-a-rang imaginary feast. GIANT turkey legs and weird bright blue smurf pies looked amazing when I was 10 years-old and they still do.

1 comment:

  1. I've never seen a movie that made me crave delicious food more than Eat Drink, Man Woman, good call. Pipi Longstocking always used to make me want to eat a whole BBQ'd fish, bones and all...ha!