Filming in the Kitchen

ticket stubsSome films just make you hungry.

I was absolutely starving after seeing Julie & Julia last Friday night. It’s always a bad idea to catch a 7:30 film without eating beforehand (especially when you had lunch at 11:30).  When it’s a film about cooking (and eating), it’s even worse.  Thanks to the hastily-purchased lemon tart we brought into the theater with us, Sébastien and I just made it through scene after scene of decadent-looking, eye-appealing French cuisine.

Why was it worth waiting until the recent French debut to see this film?  Post-movie snacking doesn’t get any better than when what’s on screen is what’s on the other side of theater doors.  In other words, a Parisian bistro with good wine and rich creamy sauce over salmon was most-certainly in order after watching Julia Child whip, chop and marvel over her creations.

This isn’t the only film that’s made my mouth water.  Here are a few other favorites, all with memorable cooking scenes:

Facing Windows (2003, in Italian), directed by Ferzan Ozpetek, is about much more than just cooking.  The pastry scenes, however, are beautifully shot and reveal how cooking (and life) isn’t just about mixing ingredients.  Post-film fare: chocolate pastries.

Like Water for Chocolate (1992, in Spanish), based on the must-read novel Como agua para chocolate by Laura Esquivel.  Most memorable kitchen scene: when Tita places half an onion on her head to keep from crying while chopping.  Post-film fare: chocolate mole sauce, a Mexican specialty.

Mostly Marta (2001, in German), written and directed by Sandra Nettelbeck. The American film, No Reservations (2007), starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart, was based on this charming screenplay about a woman chef who learns there is more to life (and to cooking) than work.  Post-film fare: Home-made pizza and tiramisu under a make-shift tent in the living room- you’ll understand if you rent the 2007 version.

Sabrina (1954), starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden.  Okay, maybe the film isn’t really about cooking, but director Billy Wilder captures the all-time greatest cooking scene when Sabrina practices cracking eggs with one hand at a Parisian culinary school.  Post-film fare: I’d vote for a soufflé.

Anyone have other cooking films to add to the list?

One thought on “Filming in the Kitchen

  1. Babette’s Feast : Danish film directed by Gabriel Axel based on the story written by Karen Blixen, with the French actress Stephane Audran, (1987).

    The Wing or the Thigh : French film “L’aile ou la cuisse” directed by Claude Zidi, starring Louis de Funès and Coluche, (1976).

    My Wife’s husband : French film known as “La cuisine au beurre” directed by Gilles Grangier, starring Fernandel, Bourvil and Claire Maurier, (1963).

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