Food, glorious food: Five great food movies


Food is a good thing. That

is my profound post-Thanksgiving pronouncement. My mother is an extraordinary,

amazing cook — a fact I remember acutely when I visit my parents.

By virtue of having grown up in a home with good food, I’ve continued

to appreciate good food all my life. And it’s still a connection

I share with my mother: I call her when I’ve had a great meal, when

I’ve cooked something interesting and when I’ve seen a good food movie.

So, in the spirit of the overeating

I’ve been doing at my parents’ home for the past few days, I’ve been

thinking about some of my favorite food movies. These are not all great

movies, and they are not necessarily the greatest food movies, but they’re

all food movies that I’ve enjoyed, and that came to mind recently.

1. What’s Cooking? (2000)

What’s Cooking? is the

no-brainer. First, we have gay-friendly director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham).

Then there’s the mouthwatering multi-ethnic Thanksgiving food prepared by Joan Chen, Mercedes Ruehl, Alfre Woodard, Julianna Margulies and Kyra Sedgwick, among others.

Last, and most important,

we have Julianna Margulies and Kyra Sedgwick as perhaps the most attractive

and appealing lesbian couple in the history of movie lesbians.

Yes, the movie has its flaws.

(Every time I watch, I cannot believe the Vietnamese college student

tells his parents he’s not coming home for Thanksgiving and then goes

to his girlfriend’s house. Across the street from his parents’ house.)

But then Julianna Margulies flexes her perfect arms, and she and Kyra

Sedgwick giggle over the turkey baster. And all is well in the world.

Take a look at the trailer

to remember how sweet and charming the movie is.

2. Waitress (2007)

When a movie review appears in the “Dining and Wine”

section of The New York Times, you know food plays a major role.

Waitress is the ultimate pie movie. While I could probably expound

upon the things the pies represent in the movie, what interests me most

is how much the movie made me crave “I Hate My Husband

” — among

many other types. And I’m not that much of a pie person. (I’ve always

lamented that in my house, Thanksgiving is a pie holiday.) I also left

the theater humming, “Baby don’t be blue. Gonna make for you. Gonna

make a pie with a heart in the middle.”


Tortilla Soup (2001)

Tortilla Soup is not

a great movie. But the food photography borders on obscene. A Mexican-American

take on Ang Lee‘s Eat Drink Man Woman, Tortilla Soup

is the story of a retired chef’s relationship with his three adult daughters

(Jacqueline Obradors, Tamara Mello and Elizabeth Pena

— who will always be “Dora” from I Married Dora to me.) Both

the daughters and the food are lovely.

4. Fried Green



Food is not as central to

Fried Green Tomatoes as it is to the other movies in this list.

But the food fight! Director Jon Avnet

has acknowledged that it’s the symbolic love scene between Idgie Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker) (Note to Jon Avnet — an actual

love scene would have been better.) Regardless, food (via the

restaurant) is the key connection between our de-sexualized lovers, and

given the physiological link

between food and sex

food is not such a bad proxy here.

5. Ratatouille (2007)

I do not like rats. Not even

a little bit. And, living in New York, I see them in the subway and

in the parks on an unfortunately regular basis. So, when a movie that

features a rat as a culinary genius and the de facto head chef of restaurant

makes me hungry rather than nauseated, I know that they did the food

right. (In all fairness, I did experience a few moments of revulsion.)

More than anything, the movie extols virtues and pleasures inherent

in cooking and appreciating food. And Janeane Garofalo

provides the voice for the only major female character, so that’s

a bonus.

There are so many other great

food movies out there. What are your favorites?

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