In search for inspiration about food, I tend to immerse myself in books, movies, and TED Talks looking for that elusive epiphany. Recent flicks include Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which gives an insight into the world of sushi making, and the perfectionism that the Japanese embodies with regards to the culinary arts. They take their food seriously, so serious that they made a movie about it.
But, this post is about another food movie, but one that was screened way before the foodie movement began with the proliferation of the internet. In fact, it won an Academy award for best Foreign film back in 1988!
This is about Babette’s Feast. Never heard of it? Well neither did I, until I started google-ing for the best food movies ever made.
The setting is based during the late 1800s, in a very conservative Christian community at the Jutland peninsular, Denmark. Two daughters of a pastor, living very austere lives, gave up many opportunities to pursue their talents and love, dedicated to their father and religion. After many years since the passing of their patriarch, they accepted a French refugee into their home, Babette, who is forlorn due to the loss of her entire family. For 14 years, she stayed at their home, cooking and cleaning for the two. One day, upon receiving news that she won the lottery, she decides to cook a “Real French” meal for their congregation to express her gratitude. And what a meal that was!
French cuisine, Classic French cuisine for that matter, reflects a sense of opulence and grandeur. Although the very Christian dinner guests were initially skeptical, over the course of the meal, you can sense through the glint in the eyes and the pink in the cheeks, that some sort of spell had took hold. One could not help but notice the guests flashing a quick smile, when they took a bite into the Cailles en Sarcophage (Foie gras stuffed quail with puff pastry), or quaffed copious amounts of Veuve Cliquot and other wonderful French wines.
After the meal, the congregation appeared to have been transformed. Their stoic facades slowly crumbled, past arguments were forgotten, and their bond as a community appeared to have been strengthened by beautiful food. I think we’ve all seen this before, the satisfaction of having an amazing, transformative meal, and how it uplifts the body and soul.
If you’re a true foodie, you’ll have to watch this movie. Change your life, I tells ya!