How many fabo feature flicks can you think of where food is the focus?
My friend Jim Kahn and I were mulling over this very matter recently as we chatted about the marvelous Meryl Streep.
While Julie & Julia was obviously a meal of a movie, the pleasures of the table also got more than a cameo role in another recent Streep vehicle, It’s Complicated. Check out what my friend Cheryl Sternman Rule has to say about the latter movie’s memorable food moments over at ivillage.
Jim and I started rattling off a list of food films that deserve fanfare.
Five Easy Pieces, When Harry Met Sally, Joy Luck Club, and Moonstruck all have stellar food scenes but arguably aren’t food films per se.
Here’s what our Top Ten Food Flicks looks like in alpha order:
1. Babette’s Feast (1987)
The Danish do dinner in the desolate countryside courtesy of a young housekeeper who turns out to know a thing or two about French food.
2. Big Night (1978)
Larger-than-life characters consume the screen in this funny family caper about an Italian restaurant on the brink of bankruptcy.
3. Chocolat (2000)
Sexy single mama Juliette Binoche shares the sensual delights of chocolate with the rural French who resist its charms–and hers–but not for long.
4. Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
Ang Lee loves a wedding banquet. This meditation on food and family, culture and cooking, features a Taiwanese chef who loses his sense of taste and his picky eater daughters.
5. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
An American story about enduring female friendships, Southern hospitality, and the regional specialties served up at a local café.
6. Julie & Julia (2009)
Meryl Streep eats up the screen as Julia Child. Amy Adams plays the frustrated office worker and fledgling blogger channeling her inner Julia.
7. Like Water for Chocolate (1992)
A young Mexican couple barred from marrying express their passion through cooking and eating.
8. Pieces of April (2003)
Ultimate oddball Thanksgiving dinner film featuring a wonderful performance by Katie Holmes before Cruise control killed her career.
9. Ratatouille (2007)
Animated Pixar pic stars Remy the rat who aspires to be a great chef despite family opposition — and the obvious obstacle of being a rodent in a rat-phobic profession. But follow those food fantasies: Remy sets the French cooking scene on fire.
10. Tampopo (1987)
Jim calls this the ultimate Japanese noodle Western. Widow seeking to make the perfect bowl of ramen gets help from an unlikely source.
11. Waitress (2007)
Sweet American indie featuring the late Adrienne Shelly who bakes her way to a better life.
Okay, that’s 11, but who’s counting?
Coming soon: Eat, Pray, Love, based on the book of the same name, which will no doubt feature Italian, Indian, and Indonesian fare.
What do you think of this list? Granted it’s skewed towards recent rom-coms pairing culinary pursuits and passions of the hearts. Hence all the chocolate.
Did I give your favorite foodie film the flick? What’s missing? Racked my brain for a great Aussie food film, alas I couldn’t come up with one.
Where’s the golden oldie featuring food — even if it’s in black and white? Where’s the Indian feast flick? A French food film classic, actually made in France? A soul food big screen treat?
I’m sure I’m leaving out loads of other sumptuous cinematic offerings.
Feel free to correct the record below.
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