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Saturday Features: "Mostly Martha" and "Big Night"

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by Thom Ernst Tuesday February 5, 2013

Dinner and a movie?  Fine.  Movie and then dinner?  A great idea.  But a full course meal in a movie theatre should not happen.  Popcorn crunching, soft drink-sipping, and candy wrappers crinkling are bad enough but the nauseating smell of someone else's fast food taken out of the context of a food court, is just too much to endure.  And so, thankfully, most people limit what they bring into a movie theatre. 

However, those rules change when in the comfort of your own home, in which case, we say, "Eat Up!" particularly if you're sitting down to watch films like "Mostly Martha" and "Big Night" (airing February 9th on TVO Saturday Night at the Movies starting at 8 pm).

So in honour of great food films such as "Like Water For Chocolate", "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover", "Babette's Feast", "Chocolat", "Tampopo", "Eat Drink Man Woman" and "Soul Food", SNAM offers a list of great movies and the perfect meal to go with them!

We'll start with the obvious - the film's we are airing on Saturday and these, by the way, will be the only food related films on the list.  Feel free to cook up something wonderful for yourself and who ever might be joining you...but do it before the movie starts. 

1/  "Big Night:"(1996)  No question; serve Italian.  The brother's are Italian, their restaurant is Italian and even the accents are Italian (including Ian Holmes). If you're not serving Italian during this film, you should have a pretty good reason as to why not.  We recommend a pasta dish which may not seem to inventive, but prepared and presented in the right way, as in this  Spicy Parmesan Meatballs with Spaghetti, you can come up with a combination of great film with a new twist on the traditional meatball. 


2/ "Mostly Martha": (2001)  Martha is feisty, controlling and in need of a companion so we've picked a meal that stands out dynamically on it's own, but is still wonderfully exquisite with a light salad, a mushroom sauce and a good friend.  This one didn't take too much thought.  It's easier when the film comes equip with it's only cultural references.  This one is German.   We suggest sticking  with a traditional German dish which could mean sausage or sauerkraut but we're going with Weiner schnitzel.  And don't forget the beer.



 3/ "The Assassination of Richard Nixon": (2004) This little gem of a flick starring Sean Penn is as underrated as the American Cheeseburger.  With the right ingredients even the seemingly traditional can be spiced up to something worthy of a discerning palate.  Consider director Neils Mueller's overlooked drama of a man's descent into madness and murder becomes more than just a political drama by adding incredible performances and unnerving suspense to a somewhat familiar story.  Suggested drink:  Coca-Cola or Pepsi.  Your choice.



 4/"Welcome to the Sticks"(2008)  French movie = French cuisine.  This one might take a bit more time than the other snacks - actually, a lot more time.  We suggest you go Provincial instead of urban for this French delicacy.  The film is about a man moved from the city to a French rural location.  So what better way to prepare yourself for re-location than to eat like the locals do.  Here is a wonderful recipe straight from the backwoods of France:  Confit de Canard.



 5/ "All About My Mother": (1999) We could go two ways with director Pedro Almodovar's film:  We can do Spanish cuisine or pick-up on the Mother theme and find some comfort food.  But since we already have a hamburger on our list (a comfort food at my home) let's go Spanish.  The meal can be as exotic, as spicy and as wild as  befitting an Almodovar movie.  Mixed Paella is by far my favourite but it does take FOREVER to make.  If you don't feel like taking the time find your local Spanish restaurant and order it in.  But homemade or pre-bought - it's worth it!  Recommended drink:  Wine or Beer.


 6/  "Zulu":(1964)  There are two ways to look at this film; either as a story about British soldiers fighting a nation of Zulu warriors or as a story of Zulu warriors standing their ground against British soldiers.  Zulu is an adventure film filled with the kind of surprises that might go against the expectations of the genre.  As much as it can boast the heroics of British soldiers frightened and outnumbered it also features the gallant and brave fight the Zulu warriors put up against their would-be oppressors.  Seems like the best meal to go along with this battle would come from South Africa.  Try the Sweet Lamb For Ramadan.  It's not nearly as difficult to make as it might seem - and you don't have to wait for Ramadan to serve it.    Recommended drink:  Just about anything goes with lamb.


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