A Thanksgiving tribute to images of food on film
November 25, 2009 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Images of food—and the preparation of food—invariably have that effect on people. They unite viewers who might otherwise have nothing in common; they plug directly into the primal craving for transitory pleasure, the desire not just to admire and then consume inventively prepared food, but also to serve (and be served by) people who love us.
posted by device55 (4 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I love The Big Night. Louis Prima!
posted by fixedgear at 6:59 PM on November 25, 2009

I've really liked the MZS visual essays I've seen previously and this one's a perfect amuse-bouche for T-day. So thanks for this.
posted by kipmanley at 9:26 PM on November 25, 2009

One of the rules of scriptwriting and storytelling is to show your main characters sharing a meal early on in the narrative, as that creates an immediate bond with the viewer or reader. However, there is also the film device of having the camera linger in disgusting closeup upon a eating, chewing mouth to telegraph that this character is evil, or at least, self-centered, indifferent to the hero, or not good. Few films are more disgustingly food-laden than the "Midsummer Night's Dream" of a few years back, starring Kevin Klein -- a blatant attempt to create an upper-middle-class fantasy of abundance, and a hearty, SWPL dream-kitchen, with roaring fireplace, abundant game, and hearty, thick-ankled peasant cooks whapping away at meat and vegetables with great knives, and taking a surreptitious sip from the wooden spoons with which they stir their steaming pots. Obscene gluttony is at the heart of our current healthcare crisis, as a pagan nation diefies food, and makes a priesthood out of food's ill-mannered preparers, as aging, limp-penised baby boomers must replace masturbation with mastication, accompanied by the swilling of wine, and the pretending that wine conveys some pleasure or enjoyment beyond the not-inconsiderable value of getting one drunk. Even when the bourgeoisie doesn't actually cook for itself, it fetishizes costly kitchens and their appurtenances, and no McMansion is complete without a boxcar-sized, stainless-steel doored refrigerator; and while wealthy Americans sit around their dinner tables, kissing and pecking the rims of their wineglasses, over tables groaning with ever-more idiotic combinations of food, they moue and shake their heads over our environmental crises, and exchange easy witticisms at the expense of, say, Sarah Palin, while huge, gusty zephyrs of methane scream to burst out of their pinched anuses and escape into the soft, expensive cushions of the dining table chair and thence to clot the world's atmosphere with the gases of organic decaty and half-digested microscopic particles of their costly edibles, while the corpses of fish, scoured from our ever more desolated oceans, stare up, half-eaten from their plates, and flies paddle in the blood that drips from the steaks, roasts and hams that fully 1/3 of the earth's surface is ravaged to produce. The landscape of America is a landscape of teeth, and flopping tongues, and mouths packed with shapeless masses of bread, meat and cheese, softened by a combination of thick saliva and carbonated sugar water, and the sound of America is the deep, rumbling chortle of a collective gullet that has been made a god, and is very well pleased. As a corrective on this, the second-foulest holiday on our national calendar, I would introduce you all to the Esselstyn Diet, as followed by some firemen, and the admonition to recall that if you would thank our creator, you would stop destroying the great gift of His planet with your slobbering quest for satiation beyond the needs of nutrition, and forswear that pagan rites of the kettle and the ultimate altar of your gluttony -- the cloacal seat.
posted by Faze at 7:21 AM on November 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

That was relatively awesome, Faze, except that there is indeed a great deal of pleasure to be found in wine that is unrelated to getting drunk.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:55 PM on November 30, 2009

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