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Edible Classics: Best Food Films

The news that Meryl Streep has signed on to play Julia Child
in Julie and Julia is great for those of us who love food, film, and food on film. The movie chronicles temporary secretary Julie
Powell’s valiant attempt to cook every recipe in Julia Child’s "Mastering
the Art of French Cooking" over the course of one year in her "crappy
outer borough kitchen."

Nora Ephron is writing
the screenplay and will also direct. Amy
(Junebug, Enchanted) plays the ambitious aspiring chef.

After the jump, the champions of culinary cinema await this
new challenger.

Tampopo (1985). Juzo
Itami’s tale of the determined owner of a run-down ramen shop is interspersed
with short vignettes that explore the importance of food in Japanese society. Food, sex and cultural traditions are all
part of the heady mix. What you’ll be
hungry for after: noodle soup, oysters.

Big Night (1996). Co-directed by Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott, this period piece about
two brothers trying to save their authentic – but failing – Italian restaurant
has glorious cooking sequences and a fabulous cast that includes Tony
Shalhoub, Isabella Rossellini and Minnie Driver. What you’ll be hungry for after: timpano,
roast suckling pig.

Babette’s Feast (1987). In this Academy Award winner for best foreign film, a French political
refugee becomes a housekeeper and cook to two elderly and reclusive Danish
sisters. After years of hiding her
gastronomic talent, she finally creates for her employers a fantastic meal that transports
them beyond their austere existence. What
you’ll be hungry for after: chicken in puff pastry.

Like Water for Chocolate (1992). Adapted from the novel by Laura Esquivel, the
romantically-thwarted heroine is able to express her passion only through her
cooking. Anyone who eats what she
prepares feels what she does, even if it’s nausea or sadness. What you’ll be hungry for after: wedding
cake, quail.

Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) Ang Lee directed this family
drama (as well as The Wedding Banquet, another food-centric movie) about a
retired Taiwanese chef and his three daughters. It bears more than a passing resemblance to Fiddler on the Roof in its portrayal
of the tension between generations. What
you’ll be hungry for after: dumplings, whole fried fish.

Related post:

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