Foodie films are definitely entertaining, but they're also great sources of inspiration for anyone who enjoys playing around in the kitchen. Whether you're a foodie newbie or an experienced gourmet, watching a movie filled with crazy cooking techniques, delicious foods, and new flavor pairings can really ignite your imagination! Join me on a journey that pairs visual entertainment with palate pleasing scenes, and tell me the real stars of these foodie films: the actors or the recipes?
1. Like Water for Chocolate
This is unquestionably one of my favorite foodie films. It is just so gorgeous, so decadent – as decadent as chocolate. I mean, everyone in this film is so affected by food at one point or another. And in some cultures, these attitudes are quite real. After all, food has the power to bring you together, to inspire you. We celebrate with food, we show love with it, we express both joy and sorrow.
2. Julie and Julia
You knew this would be making an appearance, right? I loved Julia Child long before this film (or the blog, or the book), but I was never a true foodie when I used to watch reruns of her show on PBS. This inspired me because Julia's story is inspiring – more so than Julie's, even, although both women prove that it's never too early to fall in love with cooking. Also, I adore Stanley Tucci, just adore him!
3. Big Night
Told you I loved Stanley Tucci. He absolutely made this movie for me, because not only did he star in it, he was also the co-writer and the co-director. I think it's safe to say that this charismatic actor is a foodie at heart. The movie depends as much on what it doesn't say – for instance, the omelet-making scene between brothers is amazing. This is how the Jersey Shore should always look.
As if Johnny Depp isn't enough, right? This film shows the sensual side of food, however, especially chocolate and pastries and sweetness. It's beautifully done and passionate, both of which help make it inspiring. This movie is what turned me onto chocolate making, even though I know I wouldn't be getting Johnny as a neighbor.
5. Eat Drink Man Woman
Ang Lee has such a wonderful touch on many of his films, especially in the details. What I love most about Eat Drink Man Woman is that it showcases an entirely different culture. Besides that, again, the film showcases how you can communicate your feelings through food.
6. Soul Food
You probably won't find this on many other lists, but I'm a Southern girl who grew up on soul food. I know what it's like to find your whole family together on Sunday, what it's like to spend all day in the kitchen, loving and nitpicking and cooking and arguing, and what it's like to share and fight and squabble and love some more as you come together at the table.
7. Fried Green Tomatoes
For me, the strength of Ruth and Idgie as a couple is firmly tied in with the food they make. Even Idgie basically lets Ruth know she loves her through food – by fetching honey straight from the beehive. And by stealing food to give to the less fortunate, she also shows her true colors. Of course, this is also a cautionary tale against using food to hide your anger and your fear.
I debated on including this, since it's an animated movie starring a mouse, but I love this film. I love Patton Oswalt, I love Paris, and I love food, so I had to mention it. Besides, it inspired a love for food in children all over the world, and between you and me I think kids need to be inspired about food, especially the joys of fresh, wholesome ingredients and homemade cuisine.
Many of these foodie films are what initially got me into the kitchen and inspired me to expand my sad little repertoire of recipes, which basically consisted of eggs and pasta. But that's what movies do, they inspire you – even if they're inspiring you to cook something new or try a new cuisine. What movies make you hungry for more?