Category Archives: Food/Film Review
I’ve never seen Top Gun before, starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis. I’ve also never made Deviled Eggs starring hard boiled eggs, mayo, white vinegar, salt, black pepper, and paprika.
So this is one of those classic movies from the late ‘80s that everyone seems to know. Jets. Flying. Danger zones. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, growing up in the ‘90s there was so much Top Gun that you could pretty much assemble what was going on in the film.
The same could be said for deviled eggs. You’ve been to enough new years parties and ate enough of these things that you could probably figure out how to make them without being told.
But for those who have neither seen nor made, Top Gun is about a bunch of pilots who are all awesome at piloting things that fly really fast, and are all entered into this rigorous program of high altitude dog fighting, where only one team (pilot and copilot, in this case Maverick and Goose) can earn the prestigious title of Top Gun, which was coincidentally the same title given to a roller coaster at my local theme park Canada’s Wonderland.
Deviled eggs is the title that goes to the team off eggs that make it through a rigorous process of being hard boiled, de-shelled, cut in half, and the yokes mushed up with the fixings, before being returned to the egg whites and sprinkled with paprika for garnish.
Both of these processes had elements of danger. Even though the dog fighting was not using live fire, accidents can (and did) happen. The same could be said for the eggs. Many of them didn’t make it out of the shell after being hard-boiled with out some tearing or ripping in the wrong place.
The problem that both food and film had was repetition. You like the main song “Highway to the Danger Zone“? Well get used to it, you hear it 3 times during the film. You like the taste of egg? Congratulation, that’s all you get with a plate full of deviled eggs. Definitely meant as a party snack instead of a meal.
There are some weird moments in the film as well. During the man-tastic beach volley ball scene, this guy does a muscle pose, all like “GN-EEEEEEH!” The photo doesn’t do it justice, but he just locks into that pose during the game… who was that for?
Also worth noting, there’s a few things in this film I feel inspired Street Fighter II … just saying, more than a passing resemblance.
Also, dare to compare the opening 5 seconds of both these tunes?
For what it’s worth, the film is still a marvel in that all of the exterior jet footage WAS exterior jet footage. If remade, the film would most likely be predominantly CG, so hey, big ups to authenticity.
Overall, both the film and food were what they were. Jets. Eggs. How ye’ doin’. Probably better in smaller doses, but there you go.
People ask me why I don’t try to make the food in-theme with the movie I’m watching.
To be in-theme with Top Gun, I would have made sausages.
I’ve never seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers before, starring Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams. I’ve also never made Crème brûlée starring egg yoke, milk, sugar, cream, and vanilla abstract.
The film starts similarly to Planet of the Apes, not in story mind you, but camera technique. These spores leave their dying world, drift through the galaxy (solar winds?) and crash land in first person onto earth’s plants, bushes and trees.
Then life just goes on as normal for food health inspector Matthew Bennell and science lady Elizabeth Driscoll … until things start changing in society; people accusing their friends, relatives and loved ones of NOT being ‘them’… and what’s up with that garbage truck driving around at all hours?
A similar change takes place during the creation of custard; the base of Crème brûlée.
After extracting the egg yoke, mixing it with sugar, combining it with some medium tempered whipping cream, and flavoring with vanilla, the whole liquid substance gradually bakes in the oven, becoming a gelatin of sorts.
One of the film’s strengths is how the invasion’s progress is presented. If you’ve watched Shaun of the Dead, there’s defiantly a similar vibe of something being… off in the surrounding world, beginning with most of the main characters not noticing anything, to some characters getting a bad vibe they can’t explain, to some RAVING that everything is wrong. But the invasion isn’t blatantly ‘obvious’ until it’s far too late to do much about it. Then…
… the custard is almost ready. After exiting the oven and cooling, the custard must chill in the fridge for a good 4 hours before getting to the final stage; the burnt sugar top.
Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t have a kitchen torch and had to use the oven broil instead to melt the top layer of sugar into a hardened shell, which unfortunately undid some of the “chilling” process.
Like wise, the characters in the film were too poorly equipped, very much like in real life, to deal with this invasion, which is another of the films strengths (and similarities to Shaun of the Dead). These are all real people, none of them are action heroes, they don’t have guns, they make do with what they got.
Speaking of people, both Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy are in this film. How awesome is that?!
The Crème brûlée for the most part worked out, the sugar top was hardened, but due to not chilling it a second time after the broil, it was a little soupy and distorted.
In contrast, distorted camera angles worked REALLY well for this film, along with unique lighting, and drawn out one-take camera moves, the mood was set really well. Of course, being shot in San Francisco, half the shots I thought were intentional ‘dutch tilts’ were actually the hilly slanted streets of the city.
The only thing that stood out as a little odd in the film was the sound track, no lie, parts of it during flash backs sounded like the 70′s rendition of today’s dubstep.
But like the crème brûlée’s soupiness, everything else more than makes up for the short comings, for as movie guest KT said:
I’ve had crème brûlée before, and regarding flavour, yours is… this is best.
Hive mind society. THAT’S the solution for efficient transit scheduling.
I have never seen (the original) Planet of the Apes starring Charlton Heston. Likewise, I have never made a Chicken Macaroni Casserole starring chicken and macaroni. Are they a movie and meal to go ape over? Or are they just monkey butt?
The film is about a group of astronauts going on a mission of… not ‘time travel’ per say, but traveling at such a rate that by the time they return home to earth, more years would have passed than they themselves experienced or aged. Something goes wrong and they crash land on a desolate planet much further in the future than expected, and this planet is run by monkey folk, who treat the mute race of humans as inferior animals, or ‘game’ for the hunting.
Chicken macaroni casserole requires chopped onions, cream of chicken soup, shredded cheese, milk, cooked chicken, and cooked macaroni, topped with crackers.
Planet of the Apes is a movie that definitely shows it’s age. An example being the strange (yet creative for the time) techniques that are implemented to create the ‘crash landing’ sequence, where they took a camera on a helicopter and moved it around frantically, inter-cutting with close up shots speeding by the ground and mountains, until finally hitting the lake, submerging the camera under water.
But as laughable as some of the films elements are, they do lend to the charm as well. The ape costumes my not win awards by today’s standards, but I never felt like I was watching people wearing costumes, I was fully immersed in this being a PLANET of APES, and really enjoyed all the monkeying around.
The casserole also required the implementation of as many cooking techniques I had at my disposal. Boiling the macaroni, cooking (I used the wok) the chicken, sauté the onions, and mixing it all into a soupy/milky… thing, in a skillet, before transferring them all into a big-ass casserole dish.
There’s many interesting story elements surrounding the ‘culture’ of this planet of apes. There are themes of race & class systems, religion vs science and the foolishness of a species fighting itself, though none of it is very subtle. One of the first conversations had by the Chimpanzee Zira and Cornelius (played wonderfully by Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall) is about how the Chimpanzee citizens rarely, if ever, could aspire to have such good jobs as the scholarly Orangutans (Dr. Zaius), all the while, we only ever see Gorillas doing the physical labour in the society.
The crackers were the most trying part of the casserole. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t use the glass lid, but they kept getting burnt in the oven, being the top most layer. That was probably my mistake, but I really wanted the final cheese layer to get nice and melty over the crackers.
One of the things I found odd about the film was Heston’s performance. For the most part, when he has the bullet wound in his neck and can’t speak, he’s brilliant. No one knows he’s ‘from space’ and is captured like the rest of the mute humans, so him trying to communicate, and thus AMAZING Zira as much as if a dog started writing letters to us, was a really enjoyable dynamic.
… then he gets his voice back. And at this point, I can’t really tell if his character Taylor is supposed to be a conceited monologuing stage actor, or if Heston is just playing Heston. I always though Captain Zapp Brannigan was mainly influenced by Captain Kirk, but after watching this, I know there’s some Heston in him too.
Overall, I feel the casserole was more effort than it was worth. I’m sure the cream of chicken soup and chopped onions added something, but on eating, I feel I could have got the same results just by making macaroni & cheese normally and added chicken. Tasted basically the same, making it into a casserole was just an extra (long) step, and it didn’t even hold together. The block I took out of the dish crumbled into… a pile of macaroni anyway.
Like wise, Planet of the Apes was enjoyable, as a some-what nightmare-backwards world where no one can help you (even after showing he can speak, the Orangutans claim it’s just a trick), but also had it’s share of weird or unnecessary things (why did Heston laugh like a cartoon super villain when his co-pilot Landon plants a US flag as a memorial?)
Good times. Not great, but good.
I have never seen The Maltese Falcon starring Humphrey Bogart. Likewise, I have never made a Roasted Tomato Soup starring roasted tomatoes. Not from scratch, anyway (does it count as ‘SCRATCH’ if you use a pre-made broth as a base?).
The film follows Sam Spade, a detective who’s partner is killed after a woman walks in their office and wants them to tail a guy. Eventually it comes clear her story wasn’t true and everyone starts going on about this Maltese falcon thing.
Roasted tomato soup requires 10 fresh tomatoes to be cut in half, oiled, salted, peppered and put in the oven at 450F for an hour along with an unpeeled head of garlic, then all processed in a blender and mixed in with a vegetable broth at medium heat.
20 minutes in, both the film and the soup made little sense.
People are all pointing guns at each other, getting punched, then having a pleasant conversation right after, the tomatoes and garlic started smoking up the kitchen fairly quickly, it never said if the garlic clove should be skinned AFTER it’s baked before going in the blender, everyone goes on about ‘falcon’ this and ‘tomato’ that, trying to follow the script and the cooking instructions just led to more confusion.
To be clear, both had some kick to them. I enjoyed the ‘fat man’ character’s giggles while he discusses at length the importance of acquiring the falcon, and the ‘roasted’ nature of the tomatoes were detectable. However, it doesn’t matter if individual elements are good if they can’t all mix together well, and there’s no point in me trying to force myself to enjoy something. Ultimately they were both weak sauce and too watered down, lacking in any real flavour.
I have never seen Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis. Likewise, I have never prepared stir-fried noodles, and even bought a wok for the occasion.
Die Hard follows John McClane, a New York cop who finally heads out to California to visit his wife and kids for Christmas, but gets caught up in a heist of sorts in his wives’s office building during a Christmas party. Realizing he’s locked in, and a lot of lives are at stake, he has to figure out how to take these criminals down one by one with very little weaponry or help from the outside world, all while pissing off their leader through a walkie-talkie, Hans Gruber.
Stir-Fried Noodles are equally action packed, starting with a marinade of soy, rice vinegar and crushed garlic for your meat or tofu to soak in, stir frying some cooked or soaked rice noodles then putting aside, making a small dish of soy, chili sauce and sugar for the noodles, cooking your meat or tofu thoroughly, and finally adding your veggies and noodles with the spicy sauce, and serving immediately, garnish with peanuts if you so chose.
Die Hard was a delightful surprise, being an action film from the ‘80s, I thought I knew what I was going to get. Even though how it’s going to end is fairly obvious, it’s such a fun ride getting there. There’s funny moments, action packed sequences and outrageous characters such as the party hard limo driver Argyle, the hyperactive news crew, the frat boy FBI agents Johnson & Johnson (“no, the other one”) and especially the impeccable Hans Gruber, played beautifully by Alan Rickman.
As far as action film villains go, he is incredibly human, in the way he straight-faced bullshits the cops on the phone with his demands, then puts the phone down for a second to point out he has no idea what he’s talking about.
The Stir-Fry was full of it’s own surprises and heart pounding action. Time is a factor and you never seem to have enough, while noodles are cooking, is that sauce ready? Is the chicken done yet, we gotta get these veggies chopped. Where the bean sprouts pre-washed? Oh no…!
Off all ’80s action stars, Bruce Willis remains the most enduring. I’m not so much waiting for his next crazy action sequence as I empathize with him, hoping he can just make it through alive. He gets really beat up in this film and you feel it. It’s to the point that you know his communication with the beat cop on the walkie-talkie (played by the Family Matters dad Reginald VelJohnson) is the only thing keeping him together, especially as he pulls pieces of shattered glass out of his foot (he spends just about the whole film bare foot… thanks a lot airplane suggestion guy… ASSHOLE!)
The noodles turned out really good too, they were the perfect density, not too hard, not falling apart, but the main star was the chicken, which had the most flavoring from the marinade.
Both the film and the food were a thrill to partake in. I can’t recommend them enough, and look forward to enjoying them again.