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April 24, 2024
Food Program

America’s most famous chef saw it 40 times. It’s the best Italian food movie

Mario Batali, one of the most famous Italian chefs in America today, declared in an interview that he has seen a movie about 40 times, “a cultural milestone for me.”The film he was so crazy about was “The Feast” (1996), a minuscule film with a small cast and a small story that didn’t get much attention when it was released, but it was adored by die-hard fans like Mario Batali because it was probably the most popular movie ever made. One of the best food movies about Italian cuisine.

Italian brothers come to America to open an Italian restaurant with the ambition of creating their own version of the American dream.

It’s the best, because it captures the Italian obsession with food, a pride that has been trampled by the reality that the American tongue doesn’t like.

In the 1950s, Pimmer and Schondo, two Italian brothers, came to New Jersey to open an Italian restaurant, one of many trying to achieve the “American Dream.”

In the 1950s, however, the United States was not ready for authentic Italian food, and their imagination of Italian food was still at the level of pizza and noodles.

A couple were baffled by paella, Italy’s native food. What on earth did this plate of gooey goo have to do with the promised rice and seafood? He explained that it was made from the best Apolio rice, shrimp, and scallops. The American lady picks and chooses with a look of disgust:

“At least I have macaroni to eat, right?”

“No”.”What about the meatballs?”No”Ms. American and Mr. Schondo both look confused and disappointed, as if two people from different worlds are communicating. In the 1950s, Americans assumed that any Italian dish would have macaroni as a staple, and that the macaroni would inevitably have pork meatballs.

The only Italian dish that Americans imagined in the ’50s was spaghetti with meatballs.

It was a realization that Skondo, who had just arrived from Italy, could not understand, while his brother Pimo, a true top Italian cook, was insulted as never before, raging in the kitchen and refusing to serve the Americans the Italian food they imagined.

In the face of his brother’s anger and the impending closure of his restaurant, his younger brother is decidedly more pragmatic. Across the street was a restaurant owned by Bob, an old Italian countryman, which was filled with customers every day. When he entered the restaurant, every table was munching on spaghetti meatballs as if that were the only option on the menu. They were swilling beer and liquor and enjoying a rock singer. Bob was at the table, putting on a gaudy show with food.

Bob is certainly a real businessman, and when he came to the United States, he quickly made the transition from local to global. He said to Schondo in his office, “One night, after a long day at the office, a kid goes out to dinner. He doesn’t want to see something he doesn’t recognize on his plate. He has to think, what the hell is this? You give people what they want.”

But not Pimmer, the quintessential Italian man with the traditional Italian insensitivity when it comes to food. Whenever he talks about Bob’s restaurant, he growls that they rape the food there every night!

Pimmer is testing the freshness of the vegetables, which Italians consider to be bad for taste.

Italian people are quite interesting. They are optimistic by nature and don’t care about anything. The resources on this land are enough to make them self-sufficient, so they lack ambition and have the characteristics of freedom and disorganization. But when it comes to eating, there is a religiosity, a stubborn adherence to their own set of paranoid beliefs about food.

In his autobiography, the Russian critic Alexander Genis tells the story of his first trip to Italy, which, after tasting every possible food, came to an end. He went into a restaurant on the shore. The small octopus in the vinaigrette stirred one’s fingers, and when he was done ordering and before he could taste it, he was sadly reminded of Hemingway. Hemingway’s characters in Italy often drank drinks with exotic names, such as “witch wine” and “Sambuca.” Completely unaware that they were spirits, he asked the restaurateur for the drink.

The boss turned green, his hands around his neck, but still shouted out: “To match the white wine, stupid!”

Even if he didn’t understand Italian, he understood it at once, and before he could change his words, the owner dropped his apron on the floor and ran out of the restaurant. “I hope he didn’t jump into the sea, even if I haven’t seen him since.”

In the movie, Pymer is such a stuffy Italian chef. Originally, he is a silent and shy man. However, when faced with the restaurant reform plan proposed by his brother repeatedly, Pymer would become serious with a straight face and even growl no, regardless of the fact that the restaurant is on the verge of bankruptcy. This extreme romanticism bothered the younger brother, but Pimmer was a chef who cooked fantastic food, so he was entitled to petulance.

At the end of his tether, Scandor takes Bob’s advice. Bob will invite a famous jazz player to Scandor’s restaurant. This is the last straw.

For the night, he invited all his friends to dinner, invited journalists and spent all his savings on food. It was a desperate gamble, a last chance to show Americans Italian orthodoxy.

Finally allowed to indulge, Pimmer pulled out almost all his skills, and the feast began in earnest.

It was a wonderful evening. In a classical Italian restaurant, square tables are arranged in a row, with polished knives and forks, white cloth, fresh flowers, cigarettes and whiskey are all at hand, ready to use, music is ready, everything is perfect, waiting for friends in noble clothes, empty stomachs to prepare together to enjoy the legendary Italian food.

At 8 p.m., friends arrived, enjoying fine hors d ‘oeuvres and alcohol, and waiting for Louis, the jazz player, to arrive, but when he was tipsy, the great man had not yet arrived. Everyone’s bellies began to rumble, Pimmer was already secretly feeding his girlfriend panna cheese in the kitchen, and when Skondo finally called for dinner, everyone sat down at the table cheering.

A scene at the end of the film, celebrated by die-hard fans as the morning after the feast, shows Skondo, Pimmer, and the handymen in the kitchen eating fried eggs and bread. No one says a word, silently finishing the breakfast on their plates and leaving. Or are they still in the United States? It’s a mystery.

Today, the American food world has changed a lot. Maybe in the ’90s, when The Feast was released, Americans didn’t realize what good food was. In the 21st century, Americans are looking for tradition and classics.

The morning after the feast, over a silent meal of omelets in the kitchen, the brothers reconciled, though they still didn’t know which way to go.

This can also be seen in the film Eat Pray Love, in which Julia Roberts escapes to Italy to reward herself with food and find the essence of life. In Letters to Juliet, directed by Gary Winnick, an American chef desperate to open his dream Italian restaurant makes a pilgrimage to Italy, so high he leaves his girlfriend out to dry. The United States has fully acknowledged the primacy of Italian food. It’s not just noodles and meatballs like it was in the ’50s.Here, at last, “The Feast” comes to an end, and the Italian dish answers with paranoid confidence the paradox of pandering or not pandering.

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