Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dinner and a movie

My housemate Nina and I went to see Eat Drink Man Woman earlier tonight. Beforehand, I made a quick and easy dinner using some of the vegetables from the co-op:

Bowtie pasta with fresh plum tomato sauce, green beans and basil. It was super simple: while the pasta was boiling, I sauteed a generous amount of chopped garlic in olive oil, then added the diced tomatoes and a good deal of salt to break them down quickly. Then, to create more of a sauce, I added a ladleful of the pasta cooking water and cooked the mixture down some more. During the last 3-4 minutes of the pasta's cooking, I tossed some cut green beans into the boiling water, drained it all and added it to the pan of tomato sauce, coating the pasta well. After I took the pasta off the heat, I mixed in a bit more olive oil (to get the raw oil's green, fresh flavor), along with shredded basil and lots of black pepper. Only 10 minutes' work resulted in a big payoff in flavor.

After eating, it was off to the movie. This was my third time seeing Eat Drink Man Woman and it's really a lovely film. The reason I'm including it in the blog is because it's pretty much the ultimate food movie (well, behind Big Night, maybe). It takes place in China and centers on an older, retired chef and his three daughters, who, in their 20s and 30s, still live with their father. Though the man's relationships with his daughters are often difficult and complex, he pours his heart and soul into the cooking that he does for them--mainly on Sundays, when the four of them gather around a table groaning under the weight of course after course of intricately wrought Chinese specialties. In these scenes, the camera, in extreme closeup, glides over the surface of the food in all its glistening, steamy, intensely colorful glory. This is food porn in its truest sense. But the movie goes deeper than that, really getting to the root of how we use food as--or sometimes as a substitute for--communication. I highly recommend it.

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