I’m not much of a movie-goer. I think I have some sort of brain defect that prevents me from sitting still for long periods of time while recorded images unfold before me. At the tender age nine I got up in the middle of My Fair Lady and walked home from the theater alone and I’ve been walking out of movies ever since.
That’s not a particularly interesting fact about me, but it does mean it is just a huge deal that I saw a movie tonight that I LOVED. I watched it all the way through and I intend to watch it again and again.
It is a wonderful story all about food and redemption, and creativity and art, and being who true to who you are.
It’s also a cartoon about a rat. It seems that rats have come a long, long way in the animated world since the days of Mickey Mouse.
The movie is Ratatouille, and it is about Remy the rat who is grossed out by the garbage his (very) extended family likes to eat. Remy is probably a supertaster, or at least a supersniffer, and he is called to the art of cooking. But what human would eat a meal prepared by a rat? In a kind of Cyrano-esque twist, Remy hides in the toque of Linguini, the hapless dishwasher boy in a fancy Parisian restaurant, and Linguini becomes a star.
story is a lovely one, the scenes of Paris are breathtaking – all aglow and asparkle with the lights of that city - and
the kitchen scenes (on which Thomas Keller consulted) are absolutely perfect.
Since I don’t see movies, I don’t know how to review them, either. You can see professional reviews here and here.
But please, go see this movie!
Oh, and here’s a recipe for ratatouille – not as good as Remy’s, but pretty damn tasty all the same.
3 medium eggplants, or 1 large globe eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes (leave the skin on if you can)
4 medium zucchini or other summer squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large red onion, cut into large dice
3 bell red bell peppers, seeded and cubed
A basket of sweet cherry tomatoes, or 3-4 medium tomatoes, cut in half
3-4 cloves of garlic, slivered
3 Tbs chopped fresh herbs (basil, mint, thyme)
Preheat oven to 400.
Keeping each kind of vegetable separate from the others, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper (this really requires getting your hands oily, but you want each piece coated lightly.) Place on separate baking sheets.
Roast vegetables until soft and beginning to caramelize, or even char, depending on the vegetable and your preferences. Vegetables will get sweeter as they cook, but they will burn. Watch closely.
Put tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut side up, stick with slivers of garlic, salt pepper and drizzle with oil. Roast until beginning to char on edges. If you are not using cherry tomatoes, chop them up after they are cooked. You can always make a tomato sauce of the fresh tomatoes and garlic on top of the stove instead, and add it to the cooked vegetables, but I like the intense sweetness that comes from roasting.
As each vegetable comes out of the oven, add to a large mixing bowl. Toss vegetables gently with chopped herbs, and salt, pepper and vinegar (just a tablespoon or so) to taste. Refrigerate, preferably over night for the flavors to come out, and bring to room temperature before serving. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serves 6-8, and makes great leftovers.