Tuesday, January 08, 2008

ratatouille


I know I’m late to the game, but I finally saw Ratatouille Sunday night. Ginger and I watched it when I got home from work. What a wonderful movie. When I got to the restaurant this afternoon, I couldn’t help but talk about the film and the appreciation of the story of a little rat who dreamed of being a French chef was unanimous.

How can it be that the folks at Pixar could lead us to embrace as the chef an animal who is among the least appetizing of any, when we think about them being in the kitchen? This is good work and they didn’t miss a detail. The first thing Remy the rat does when he gets into the kitchen at the restaurant is wash his hands. The Little Chef, as he is called, has to convince the humans he belongs in the kitchen and convince his family he wants more out of life than scavenging for garbage.

Since we’ve not yet unpacked the remote to our DVD player, we weren’t able to watch any of the extras to find out how they researched the food side of things. What I can tell you is they were spot on in most every detail. James. one of the other chefs at work who had seen some of the extras said Thomas Keller, who owns the French Laundry and is arguably the best chef in America, consulted on the film, even to the point of letting his ratatouille be the model for the dish in the movie.

There was one moment in the film that took my breath away. The movie builds to a scene where the young chef, guided by Remy, has to cook for Anton Ego, the food critic. Remy decides they should make ratatouille. The others are not so sure; after all, it’s a peasant dish. When Ego takes a bite of Remy’s creation, he flashes back to his boyhood, sitting at supper eating the same dish. Here’s what food can do: pull you back to your true self. James also loved that scene, he said, because it affirmed what he most wants to do: food therapy. He thinks there’s a way to use cooking in intentional therapy. I think he’s on to something.

I suppose if I were really doing this right, I would have a ratatouille recipe to post along with my review. I‘ll work on that and get back to you. For now, I’m soaking in the aromas of Remy’s dreams and biting into the belief that following our hearts is how we are truly fed.

Peace,
Milton

5 comments:

karen said...

The warmest loveliest matinee I have taken my kids to in ages.....

anyway, Deb over here has a ratatouille that looks awesome...
enjoy!
http://www.smittenkitchen.com/2007/07/rat-a-too-ee-for-you-ee

Brooke said...

I've been reading your blog for the last month are so and always appreciate your take on things... this one is no exception.

I've been reading the French Laundry cookbook like it's a book-book for the last month and am in love.

T.Gray said...

Ratatouille is the only movie I've gone to the theater to see in about 3-4 years, and my son and I went together. "Food IS comfort" is one of my favorite lines from the flick. Glad you got to see it, and enjoyed it so much. Lots of cool stuff going on in that movie.
Later-Tom

Lisa in Austin said...

That scene is our family's favorite as well.

And I believe the fine folks at Disney have put out a Ratatouille cookbook. Never ones to miss an opportunity for marketing, but I have heard it is actually a pretty good kids' cookbook.

We watched this movie again over the holidays and it is a joy.

Real Live Preacher said...

I think I emailed you a couple of times about this. "Have you seen Ratatouille?" "have you seen Ratatoullie?"

I saw this in the theater with my kids an your name was all over it. I kept telling Jeanene, "Milton will love this."

Pretty gutsy thing, to have rats cooking. When they are humanized creatures talking, it's okay, but seeing them run all over the kitchen floor. I was thinking, "Can they possibly pull this off?"

How about that absolutely wonderful review Anton Ego publishes the day after? Had me sobbing.