“In this restaurant,” says Madame, “cuisine is not an old, tired marriage, it is a passionate affair of the heart.”
Madame Mallory is played by Helen Mirren, in the 2014 movie, “The Hundred Foot Journey”. Set and filmed in the South of France, this movie ignites my passion for food and love; and the interconnected mysteries of both.
Reminiscent of “Chocolat”, filmed in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in Eastern France and released in 2000, the filming of the food was incredible in both films, (same director). You could almost taste it. And that says something, because the author of “Chocolat”, Joanne Harrish, pays particular attention to food descriptions in many of her books, “Blackberry Wine”, being one of my all time favorites.
“A Good Year”, filmed in Provence and “Julie and Julia”, filmed in Paris, (for the French locations), both make me want to jump on a plane and head to France. Of course, I can’t practically do that. But I own a copy of “The Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, way too many strange recipes. Or are they?
Some time ago I bought a book called, “200 Skills Every Cook Must Have”, mostly for my son. I hope he will be inspired at some point to really dig into cooking. As I looked through the book just now I realized, there is a lot for me to learn as well. And maybe mastering the basic sauces, is not a bad idea. I’m competent, and can follow most recipes, but to really be good, you do need to master these basics. They need to be second nature. Then it is so much easier to create something new in the kitchen. Which is ultimately what I want to be able to do.
While it is not super easy to learn a complicated recipe from a book, I think if you have the right passion it can be done. In “The 100 Foot Journey”, the young sous chef explains how to master the 5 basic sauces, “You must find them in your heart. Then bring them to your pots”.
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
That is where it ends up for me. Food is at the centre of everything worth having or being in life. I’ve been somewhat shy to say that before. Even though everyone agrees that food is the very foundational building block of life, we tend to be careless with food. Relegating it to a mere energy source and something that is only required, but not necessarily enjoyed.
Maybe some people did not experience the passion in food at a young age. Their families did not appreciate and cultivate the preparation of food. But even in that case, (my Mother had an average 1980’s love of food), you can find your way back home through food. You can find the love that is there with all the cooks who have come before you.
It is worth the journey.