In today's world, inspiration can come from just about anywhere. With the advent of social media, sharing images and ideas has become an every-minute occurrence. With the development of the internet, new skills can be learned to implement this inspiration with the click of a mouse and a trip to Home Depot. With the increase of disposable income (for some, at least), people now have the time and inclination available to learn new tricks and DIY their entire life. As I am constantly learning how to balance my day job with my more creative aims, I find I have to take my inspiration where I can get it. It has to fit in to my normal day-to-day activities; I don't regularly have the time to scroll through Pinterest or to peruse food blogs to find new recipes to try.
Sometimes, it's enough to browse Instagram on my coffee break. Other times, I want to be immersed into a world completely unlike my own.
Lately, I have had a big thing for culinary films. Not reality shows, where stressed contestants grapple for the best ingredients on a table full of bizarre edibles. And not documentaries, which highlight both the positives and negatives of the real restaurant world.
But rather, fictionalized movies that show the idealized version of the food world: the passion behind developing new recipes, the excitement of accomplishing a perfectly-executed dish, the hard-work-montage that indicates hours of preparation in a satisfying two minute span.
As I am a generous woman, I wanted to recommend three of my favorite food films for your enjoyment!
The Hundred-Foot Journey
This movie combines the best parts of the visually stunning contrast of cultures that made Eat Pray Love and Under the Tuscan Sun so enjoyable for me, with the wit and heart of any Nancy Meyers romantic comedy. Following the story of Hassan Kadam and his family, the film starts in India and makes its way to a quaint town in France that is (somehow) home to a Michelin-starred restaurant. Through a sad-beautiful-tragic series of events, the Kadam family opens an Indian restaurant right across the street, and hijinks ensue. Part drama, part comedy, and full of a passion for food, this movie is worth a watch.
I don't know if there are words for how much I love this movie. Jon Favreau's acting is flawless as Carl Casper, a Miami chef who loses his cool one night after receiving a biting restaurant review from a famous food blogger and unintentionally takes the fight viral on social media. When he's later fired, Chef Carl has to figure out how to reinvent himself, and reinvigorate his passion for cooking, while also including his (adorable) (hilarious) (you'll love him) young son in the process. One cup snark, one cup adorable father-son road trip moments, and a whole lot of food envy make up this delicious flick.
(There's a scene involving garlic pasta that I have tried time and again to recreate, to limited sucess. I will never stop trying!)
Julie & Julia
Last, but certainly not least, comes the tale of two women who share a taste (har har) for good cooking to fill their otherwise less-than-enviable days. One (Julia Child), a now-renowned chef who brought French cooking to the everyday housewife, feels like an awkward American in an unfamiliar land. The other (Julia Powell), a Brooklyn-turned-Bronx transplant who spends her days fielding customer service calls and listening to her friends' successes, needs to find a purpose. Separated by decades but alike in their commitment to true French cuisine, this movie will encourage anyone to stop by the market on the way home and find their own Joy of Cooking.
Whether you prefer to watch the Food Network or a fictional recounting of your favorite foodie, there's always inspiration to be found in the stories of others.
These are just a few of my favorites - what are yours?