Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

As we prepare for the big feast, our house get stuffed to the brim with turkeys, ham, potatoes, stuffing ingredients, corn, green beans, and all manners of pie.

There are side dishes galore, one person told me they made 20 sides dishes one year. I plan to make about 5 when you include the cranberry sauce. My favorite side, besides the oyster stuffing, is the Memphis Corn Pudding recipe. So good, so creamy, so not healthy. Whenever I make it I get raves. And it is simple.

All I do is mix a can of cream corn and a can of regular corn with 1 egg, 1 stick of melted butter, 1 cup of sour cream, and one box of Jiffy corn bread mix. I put it in a 12” square casserole dish and bake until golden brown in a 350 degree oven. Like I said, simple.

Hector Elizondo as the Chef in Tortilla Soup

Hector Elizondo as the Chef in Tortilla Soup

To get ready for this week, I have been watching food movies. Tortilla Soup is one of my favorites starring Hector Elizondo as a chef who has lost his sense of smell. He has three daughters still living at home but who are making changes in their lives. As all of this is happening, they continue the family tradition of having a big meal on Sunday nights. These are incredible spreads with pumpkin made into a soup tureen and tortilla soup being something more than a way to use stale tortillas.

Sunday night meals are also a way to make big announcements. Announcements about new jobs, new boyfriends, new living arrangements. It is never boring in this house, especially when Rachel Welch shows up to make a play for the father.

Big Night long tableAnother food movie I love watching is Big Night starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub as two brothers who own a restaurant in a small town on the East Coast. Shalhoub is the chef who wants to make great traditional Italian food that is not always about spaghetti. Tucci is the manager who tries to find ways to keep their business afloat while maintaining relationships with Minnie Driver and Isabella Rossini. The latter is the mistress of their competitor, Ian Holm.

They want to get the word out about their place and Holm says he can get a big celebrity to come to their restaurant. So Tucci spends the last of their money to make this happen. The food is glorious. Lovingly cooked all day despite the worries and temptations and schemes. And the party? Well, not everything goes as expected. But what a spread of food including a roasted suckling pig.

Babette s FeastThe last movie I saw is Babette’s Feast. This movie comes from France but the setting is in Holland on a lonely seaside community. It is here that two sisters live who are of a pious religious community. It is not that these two women never had the chance to leave, one could have been a great singer. But they choose to stay to help their father serve his parish.

In their later years, a former love sends them a woman who needs to start over as her husband and son were recently killed. They can pay her no money but she stays and cooks for them. The older people who get soup from the sisters love Babette’s soups and breads. The women notice their church is doing better. Then one day Babette is sent a letter stating she has won the lottery. She asks the sisters to put on a feast in the French style.

The sisters are afraid but they agree to it. And what a feast it is. When a former suitor of the other sister comes with his elderly aunt it is fortunate for the diners. He alone recognizes the dishes and the wine. His appreciation allows the others to appreciate the meals as well. Turtle soup, pastries, quail, fruit and cheese. If you do get this movie, be aware that it does have subtitles. You can choose the English language option but I did not want the distraction of the words not matching the mouth movement.

Such movies inspire me for cooking which will be needed this week.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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