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The Taste of Things: sublime

OH so delicious! This afternoon Ken and I went to see The Taste of Things, a French film in which people cook and eat and drink and cook and cook and eat, and that’s about it. No, it’s not, the film is about a great love, about friendship and loyalty and grief, but most of all, it’s about respecting food: how it’s grown, prepared, presented, eaten, analyzed, discussed. What a sublime culture that is.

The film is set in 1889, and every shot is exquisite, a Vermeer. OMG I wanted to smell those dishes, let alone taste them. The audience was moaning, as were the actors as they ate (and I read that the food was not fake, as is usual in films, but real). But at its heart, there’s the love story: gorgeous Juliette Binoche works as cook for expert gourmand and chef, Benoit Magimel, the owner of the chateau where they live and a man deeply in love with her, although she is in charge. The fact that the two actors were once lovers and have a child adds to the depth of emotion on the screen.

Cooking for someone is love. Cooking the way these people cook, with endless little details, is the greatest love of all. It’s a long slow film, and as all the reviews say, you’ll be starving at the end. In fact, I think my relationship to food may be permanently altered. Slow down. Smell. Taste. Taste again. Savour.

Last night, the opposite – the season finale of All Creatures Great and Small, which we do not watch for the cuisine. Of course we knew that James was going to make it home, but still, the detail, the sets, the actors, not to mention the endlessly green countryside – the British side of me loves it all.

Again, my book is haunting me. I was at Indigo today before the film and looked it up on the store’s computer; it’s there but without even an “out of stock” sticker. Just nothing. It’s been out months and is still only available from Ben McNally Books and Mosaic Press. Hope you can find it there. Have received more lovely notes:

BRAVA, Beth! It’s a wonderful book, beautifully written. I love how I can dip in and out, enjoying a vignette or two or five, laughing and thinking and learning.
I love how you write about your children.
I love how you write about dead friends.
I love how you write about anything and everything.
AND: I am slowly consuming each story in your memoir, pausing after reading one and savouring the sentiments which resonate in ways unexpected. I find myself living through the triumphs, losses, joy and heartache with the writer. I don’t want to rush through. The stories are moving, I want  to let them linger a while.
AND a student wrote: Before I took your class I was terrified of memoir. I didn’t think anyone would care about my story. However, through your encouragement and the wonderful connections I have made with the other contributors, I have learned to trust others with my story, an invaluable experience. I will always be indebted to you, and count you among the most influential people in my life.
Thank you all! I was thrilled to read this, in an article about Navalny: In a letter last April to Mr. Krasilshchik, Mr. Navalny explained that he preferred to be reading 10 books simultaneously and “switch between them.” He said he came to love memoirs: “For some reason I always despised them. But they’re actually amazing.”
Thanks for that vote of confidence in memoir, Alexei. Your legacy will live on. Surely your murder will be the beginning of the end for Putin.
I spent Saturday with my grandsons; Ben was still sick and Eli has a bad cough still. And now I have a cold, but possibly it was incubating before I went over. C’est la vie. If only Juliette Binoche would whip up a little dinner, un petit pot au feu, I think I’d recover instantly.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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