Sunday, July 08, 2007

This rat belongs in the kitchen.

Eric and I just saw "Ratatouille" and absolutely loved it. It was everything we used to expect from Disney's animated films and everything we've come to expect from Pixar.

Its the story of a rat with a peculiarly developed palate who comes to fall in love with the delights of haute cuisine and eventually becomes a star chef in Paris. I loved the idea of a creature we usually consider a scourge in the kitchen becoming a star in the kitchen. (Imagine the screenwriter scribbling this idea down on a cocktail napkin after a particularly great meal, or perhaps after spotting a mouse in her garret apartment!)

And of course, there was the heartwarming subtext that anyone with talent can become something great if they apply that talent. My favorite line in the film was "Not anyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere."

This movie pokes fun at the rarefied world of the Michelin four star restaurant, but it also reminded me of why we love to eat good food. Its a way to enjoy being alive, to be totally present in the moment. At its best, good cooking can also remind us of other great moments in our lives. There is a wonderful scene where the dour food critic is jolted back to his mother's cooking and it honestly made me a little misty eyed. (I am the child of a very talented cook and always miss her food when I am away for too long.) Don't want to spoil it for anyone, but go and savor this charming movie. Then go out somewhere fancy afterwards and have a great dinner. It will undoubtedly be a perfect evening.

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