Friday, April 30, 2010

Cooking with the Bible now available via iPhone apps

Just an update:

We've gotten word that 10 iPhone apps based on our book Cooking with the Bible are now live (the rest of the chapters should follow very soon).

Here's the direct link to the App Store webpage for one of the Cooking with the Bible apps, FYI (you can see the product without being in iTunes or on an iPhone/iPad):

If you want to check them all out, it's probably easiest to find them by searching either iTunes on your computer or the app store on your iPhone using the keyword "Chiffolo."

We hope you like them. Please spread the word!
Anthony & Rusty

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Home Fries

Short on food and long on absurdist comedy, Home Fries is really the story of how Sally (Barrymore), jilted by the man with whom she is pregnant, finds her true love. Suffice to say that she is allowed to continue working at the Burger-Matic as the drive-through cashier because the counter will hide her increasing bulk from customers. Into her life walks Dorian (Wilson), a handsome if too easily manipulated helicopter pilot, who needs to determine if the staff of the restaurant had overheard what he and his brother did to their step-father. Taking a job at the Burger-Matic, Dorian learns how to make double-cheeseburgers with special sauce, onions, and three pickle slices—and quickly falls for Sally. Unbelievable complications arise, but incredible as it might seem to her, Dorian is able to show Sally that he’s the sane one in his family, even if he can’t remember how to make a hamburger.

Fun Fact:
Angus (Busey) tells his brother about a woman who kills her husband by bashing his head in with a leg of lamb, then cooks and feeds the lamb to the detectives investigating the murder, in the process destroying any evidence that might connect her to the crime. Actually, the story is Roald Dahl’s “Lamb to the Slaughter” from his book Tales of the Unexpected, and some viewers might recall its appearance in a classic episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Released 1998
Directed by Dean Parisot
Written by Vince Gilligan

Starring Drew Barrymore as Sally Jackson, Luke Wilson as Dorian Montier, Catherine O’Hara as Beatrice Lever, Jake Busey as Angus Montier, Shelley Duvall as Mrs. Jackson, Kim Robillard as Billy, Daryl Mitchell as Roy, Lanny Flaherty as Red Jackson, and Chris Ellis as Henry Lever

Gran Torino

Sue: We’re having a barbecue; you want to come over?
Walt: What do you think?
Sue: There’s tons of food!
Walt: Yeah, just keep your hands off my dog.
Sue: No worries, we only eat cats.
Walt: Really?
Sue: No, I’m kidding, you moron! C’mon, you can be my special guest.

Gran Torino is actor-director Clint Eastwood’s critically acclaimed film about the Hmong immigrant experience in Midwestern America. Eastwood plays Walt, a curmudgeonly (some would say mean-spirited) retiree whose wife has just passed away. Harboring strong prejudices against Asians because of his combat in the Korean War, he nevertheless comes to the aid of his Hmong neighbors when a gang threatens their son, Thao (Vang). Reluctantly, Walt becomes involved in their lives, befriending their daughter, Sue (Her) and mentoring Thao. In the end, Walt decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to stop the gang’s relentless pursuit of the boy he has come to see as his responsibility.

When Walt first intervenes to protect Thao, the family and neighbors express their appreciation by leaving food (and flowers) on Walt’s porch, continuing despite his protestations. He finally accedes to their gifts: “Certainly better than beef jerky, I’ll tell you”—and indeed, Hmong food, loving prepared and presented, would definitely be that. Originating in the mountain regions of southern china, the Hmong migrated to Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, and Laos; during the Vietnam War, they fought alongside American and South Vietnamese troops, and many immigrated to the United States after the war. Hmong food features a wide variety of spices and herbs, including chilis, cilantro, garlic, green onion, mint, ginger, oyster sauce, hoisin, and fish sauce. Some traditional Hmong dishes are green papaya salad (tuav gaub), egg rolls (kab yob), pickled vegetables, steamed cabbage, stuffed rice crepes (fawm kauv), stir-fried yam leaves with onion, bitter melon with chicken wings, sausage, and beef noodle soup; meat is served in small portions, and vegetables are steamed, boiled, or stir fried.

When Sue invites Walt over for a barbecue, he discovers a host of foods with which he is unfamiliar: the film depicts egg rolls, roast pig, barbecued chicken, and chicken dumplings, among the other offerings. As Walt tells Sue, “You people are nuts. But the food looks good, smells good too.” She responds matter-of-factly, “Well of course, it’s Hmong food.” Astonishing himself and his host, he asks, “OK, can I come back for seconds?”

Released 2009
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by Dave Johannson & Nick Schenk; screenplay by Nick Schenk

Starring Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski, Christopher Carley as Father Janovich, Bee Vang as Thao Vang Lor, Ahney Her as Sue Lor, Brian Haley as Mitch Kowalski, Geraldine Hughes as Karen Kowalski, Dreama Walker as Ashley Kowalski, Brian Howe as Steve Kowalski, John Carroll Lynch as Berber Martin, William Hill as Tim Kennedy, Brooke Chia Thao as Vu, Chee Thao as Grandma, Choua Kue as Youa, Scott Eastwood as Trey, and Xia Soua Chang as Kor Khue

Awards: 2009 David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Film; 2008 NBR Awards for Best Actor (Eastwood) and Best Screenplay-Original

Fried Green Tomatoes

Sheriff Smoote: Why, this is about the best barbecue I ever ate.
Sipsey: Secret’s in the sauce.

Ninny: Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a plate of fried green tomatoes like we used to have at the café.

Aside from the title dish, the Whistle Stop Café featured in Fried Green Tomatoes is best known for its savory barbecued ribs. A certain incident leads to a substitution for the usual pork ribs, and the “mystery meat” makes the best barbecue the sheriff has ever tasted.

Released 1991
Directed by Jon Avnet
Screenplay by Fannie Flagg and Carol Sobieski, based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg

Starring Kathy Bates as Evelyn Couch, Jessica Tandy as Ninny Threadgoode, Mary Louise Parker as Ruth Jamison, Mary Stuart Masterson as Idgie Threadgoode, Cicely Tyson as Sipsey, Chris O’Donnell as Buddy Threadgoode, Stan Shaw as Big George, Gailard Sartain as Ed Couch, Timothy Scott as Smokey Lonesome, Gary Basaraba as Grady Kilgore, Lois Smith as Mama Threadgoode, Nick Searcy as Frank Bennett, Raynor Scheine as Sheriff Curtis Smoote, and Nancy Moore Atchison as Little Idgie Threadgoode

Awards: 1993 BMI Film Music Award; 1992 Casting Society of America Artios Best Casting for Feature Film, Drama; 1992 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film; 1992 Retirement Research Foundation Wise Owl Award for Television and Theatrical Film Fiction; 1992 USC Scripter Award for Flagg (author/screenwriter) and Sobieski (screenwriter); 1993 Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress under Ten in a Motion Picture (Atchison)

Evelyn: Did Idgie really barbecue Frank Bennett? Are you pulling my leg?
Ninny: Secret’s in the sauce, or so I’ve been told.

Dinner with Friends

Gabe: And this market she took us too….
Karen: Emilia took us shopping.
Gabe: Campo de’ Fiori.
Karen: This outdoor market.
Gabe: Fish, produce, you name it.
Karen: So aromatic, so colorful. And the faces!
Gabe: I got some great shots.
Karen: This is someone who’s been cooking for 75 years. Can you imagine?
Gabe: Her relationship to food, it’s so primal, so sexy, really. It gave us a great angle for our piece.

Gabe: Tell her about the pomodoro.
Karen: Plum tomatoes she picked straight out of her garden.
Gabe: You wouldn’t believe how red these tomatoes were. Sweet!
Karen: So soft.
Gabe. Buttery.
Karen: And then she just took them and crushed them in her hands.
Gabe: In her gnarled little hands. It was a riot, this little old lady.

Dinner with Friends is another relationship movie that uses food as a prop. Gabe (Quaid) and Karen (MacDowell) are wife-and-husband food writers and photographers whose world falls apart when their best friends, Tom (Kinnear) and Beth (Collette), decide to divorce. The food really figures only in the first night of action, and it looks and sounds delicious: lamb marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, then seared on the grill; pumpkin risotto; limone mandorle polenta (cake made with eggs, vanilla, lemon, and almond, with polenta substituted for the flour). That’s a dessert to look for!

Released 2001
Directed by Norman Jewison
Written by Donald Margulies

Starring Dennis Quaid as Gabe, Andie MacDowell as Karen, Greg Kinnear as Tom, and Toni Collette as Beth, and Ruth Reichl as herself

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Dinner with Andre

The art-house hit of 1981, My Dinner with Andre depicts a dinner conversation between friends Wally and Andre who have lost touch over the years and are finally catching up with each other. The movie focuses on the conversation between the two men, most of which is Andre’s recounting his search for the meaning of life, but they do actually have dinner: Andre orders terrine de poisson (fish pâté) and cailles aux raisins (roasted quail with raisins); Wally has the quail also, preceded by potato soup; a small green salad and bread accompany each entrée; they also order red wine; and they finish the meal with espresso and, in Wally’s case, a shot of amaretto. While not a “food” movie, My Dinner with Andre does offer the viewer much existential food for thought.

Released October 11, 1981
Starring Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory
Directed by Louis Malle
Written by Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory
Awards: 1982 Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay (Shawn and Gregory)

Fun Fact:
My Dinner with Andre is the longest dinner scene in film history.

A Christmas Story

Mr. Parker: It’s a beautiful duck. It really is. But you see…
Waiter: What?
Mr. Parker: It’s smiling at me.
Waiter: Ah. (laughing, he picks up a meat cleaver and chops off the duck’s head) Okay? Beautiful.
Mr. Parker: Yes. (clapping)
Narrator: That Christmas would live in our memories as the Christmas when we were introduced to Chinese turkey.

Narrator: Every family has a kid who won’t eat. My kid brother had not eaten voluntarily in over three years.
Mrs. Parker: Oh, Randy, don't play with your food. Eat it!
Randy: Aw, gee.
Mrs. Parker: Starving people would be happy to have that….
Mr. Parker: You stop playing with your food, or I’ll give you something to cry about. You better stop fooling around with that and eat it, or you’ll be sorry….
Randy: Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beetloaf. I hate meatloaf.

Mr. Parker: All right. All right, I'll get that kid to eat. Where's my screw driver and my plumber's helper? I'll open up his mouth and I'll shove it in.

Though replete with anachronisms, A Christmas Story, the tale of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker’s (Billingsley) quest for the gift of a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range-model air rifle, has become a modern classic, akin to It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. Based on the stories of Jean Shepherd, the film depicts the challenges and joys common to many a boy growing up in northern Indiana in 1939 or 1940. As well, the movie includes two simple but hearty Midwestern meals. For breakfast, Mrs. Parker (Dillon) serves scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and jam, oatmeal, milk, and orange juice. For dinner, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, pickles, red cabbage, and bread. But the most memorable meal occurs after the neighbor’s dogs abscond with the Christmas turkey, and Mr. Parker (McGavin) takes the family to the Chop Suey Palace for a dinner of Chinese “turkey” (Peking duck).

Released 1983
Directed by Bob Clark
Written by Jean Shepherd (book and screenplay)
Starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, Melinda Dillon as Mrs. Parker, Darren McGavin as Mr. Parker, Ian Petrella as Randy Parker, Scott Schwartz as Flick, R.D. Robb as Schwartz, Tedde Moore as Miss Shields, Yano Anaya as Grover Dill, and Zack Ward as Scut Farkus
Awards: 1984 Genie Awards for Best Achievement in Direction and Best Screenplay

Fun Fact:
Jean Shepherd and his wife, Leigh Brown, make cameos as parents waiting in line with their children to see Santa Claus at the department store in town.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Mike Teavee: Why is everything here completely pointless?
Charlie Bucket: Candy doesn't have to have a point. That's why it's candy.

Willy Wonka: How do you feel about little raspberry kites?
Charlie Bucket: With licorice instead of string!
Mrs. Bucket: Boys, no business at the dinner table.
Charlie Bucket: Sorry, Mum.
Willy Wonka: I think you're onto something though, Charlie.

Mrs. Beauregarde: Violet, you're turning violet! [to Wonka; concerned] What's happening?
Willy Wonka: Well, I told you I hadn't quite got it right, 'cause it goes a little funny when it gets to the dessert. It's the Blueberry Pie that does it. I'm terribly sorry!
Violet Beauregarde: Mother, what's happening to me? [continues to turn purple and starts to grow]
Grandpa Joe: She's swelling up!
Charlie Bucket: Like a blueberry!
Willy Wonka: [to Mrs. Beauregarde] I've tried it on, like, twenty Oompa-Loompas and each one ended up as a blueberry. It's just weird!
Mrs. Beauregarde: But I can't have a blueberry as a daughter. How is she supposed to compete? Veruca Salt: You could put her in a county fair!
A candy-lover’s delight and a dentist’s worst nightmare, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory features a dazzling array of sweets and confections. There are lollipops in assorted flavors, grass candy, pink sugar canes, jawbreakers, taffy, chocolate trees and flowers, strawberry-flavored chocolate-coated fudge, whipped cream, nuts, Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight Wonka bars, everlasting gobstoppers, hair toffee, and so much more. Most impressive is the chocolate waterfall that mixes the chocolate, churning it up to make it light and frothy (the river and waterfall set required 245,000 gallons of fake “chocolate”), but more creative is the chewing gum that’s a full-course meal, starting with tomato soup, then turning to roast beef and baked potato, and finishing with blueberry pie and ice cream. Unfortunately, the chewing gum (and some of the other candies) are not without some series side effects…. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a remake of the classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Released 2005
Directed by Tim Burton
Written by Roald Dahl (book) and John August (screenplay)
Starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket, David Kelly as Grandpa Joe, Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Bucket, Noah Taylor as Mr. Bucket, Deep Roy as Oompa Loompa, Christopher Lee as Dr. Wonka, Missi Pyle as Mrs. Beauregarde, Annasophia Robb as Violet Beauregarde, Adam Godley as Mr. Teavee, Jordan Fry as Mike Teavee, Franziska Troegner as Mrs. Gloop, Philip Wiegratz as Augustus Gloop, James Fox as Mr. Salt, and Julia Winter as Veruca Salt
Awards: 2006 Empire Award for Best Actor (Depp); 2005 Irish Film and Television Audience Award for International Film; 2006 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Special Silver Ribbon; 2006 NRJ Ciné Award for Best Look (Depp); 2006 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Family Movie; 2005 Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role-Male (Highmore); 2006 Teen Choice Award for Movies-Choice Actor in Comedy (Depp); 2006 Young Artist Award for Best Family Feature Film-Comedy or Musical


Company: This was a real nice clambake; we’re mighty glad we came. The vittles we et were good, you bet. The company was the same. Our hearts are warm, our bellies are full, and we are feelin’ prime. This was a real nice clambake, and we all had a real good time.

The cinematic version of the hit Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, Carousel stars Gordon MacRae as Billy Bigelow and Shirley Jones as Julie Jordan, together again the year after they appeared in Oklahoma.

Set (and filmed) in a seaside town in Maine, the movie features a traditional New England clambake in June: codfish chowder with onions and salted pork, followed by lobsters, clams, and unshucked corn steamed in a covered pit in the sand. It’s no wonder the picnickers came away with full bellies.

Released 1956
Directed by Henry King
Screenplay by Phoebe Ephron and Henry Ephron, based on the play Liliom by Ferenc Molnár
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Starring Gordon MacRae as Billy Bigelow, Shirley Jones as Julie Jordan, Cameron Mitchell as Jigger Craigin, Barbara Ruick as Carrie Pipperidge, Claramae Turner as Cousin Nettie, Robert Rounseville as Mr. Enoch Snow, Gene Lockhart as Starkeeper/Dr. Selden, Audrey Christie as Mrs. Mullin, Susan Luckey as Louise Bigelow, Jacques d’Amboise as Louise’s “Starlight Carnival” Dancing Partner, William LeMassena as Heavenly Friend, and John Dehner as Mr. Bascombe

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Despite what viewers might expect from a film with “breakfast” in the title, there is no large breakfast scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (nor much emphasis on food at all). The film opens with Holly Golightly (Hepburn) nibbling on a Danish and sipping coffee as she gazes into the windows of Tiffany’s, the famous New York City jewelry store and landmark. The film implies a wistfulness that is more fully explained in Capote’s novel: that Holly wants to be so wealthy that even Tiffany’s would allow her to breakfast there among the jewels.

Holly passes herself off as a young New York socialite, but in reality, she is an escort, or some might say a “call girl.” Her sham comes apart when Paul Varjak (Peppard) moves into the apartment upstairs; he sees through her façade because he himself is a “kept man,” set up in his apartment by Mrs. Failenson (Neal) in exchange for sex, though the story, not entirely false, is that she is a wealthy patron of his budding writing career. Over the course of time, Paul falls for Holly, but she is on the lookout for a wealthy husband because she needs money to take care of her brother Fred, a special-needs young man, when he leaves the army. When Doc Golightly (Ebsen) unexpectedly shows up in New York, Paul discovers that Holly is really Lulu May, married when she was only fourteen to the much older horse veterinarian. Doc wants Holly to return home, but Holly’s choice is not that difficult: she had abandoned Doc and their life in Oklahoma a few years earlier, and she sets her sights on Rusty Trawler, “the ninth richest man in America under 50.” When he ends up marrying a rich heiress, Holly pursues José Luis de Villalonga, a wealthy Brazilian businessman.

In the meantime, Paul and Holly spend time together, even browsing through Tiffany’s, where they ask to have a Cracker Jack ring engraved, and looking up Paul’s book of stories at the N.Y. Public Library. Having sold another story, Paul breaks it off with Mrs. Failenson, even refusing her money, and professes his love to Holly. But when Holly indicates that she’s going to marry José, Paul angrily gives her $50 “for the powder room”—her usual fee, and the amount he had just received for his story. That evening, Holly receives a telegram informing her that her brother had been killed in an accident.
Months later, after Paul has found another apartment and has begun to make a living at writing, Holly invites him to dinner. While she is cooking, she explains how happy she is to be going to Brazil with José, though apparently as his mistress and not his wife, and how diligently she’s trying to learn Portuguese. When she ruins dinner, Paul takes her out, but upon their return home, the police narcotics squad arrests Holly for carrying the weekly “weather report” from Sally Tomato in Sing Sing to his lawyer, another job for which she had received $100/week. Paul arranges for her release from jail on bond, and Holly insists they take a cab directly to the airport so that she can fly to Brazil.

But Paul hands her a letter, in which José breaks off his “engagement” with Holly because of the scandal. Yet Paul tells her that he loves her and wants her to belong to him—but Holly wants to belong to no one, and she puts her cat (whom she always called simply Cat, because she didn’t want to be attached to anyone) out on the street in the rain and has the cab drive away. Paul stops the taxi, gives her the engraved Cracker Jack ring at last, and goes to look for Cat. After several long moments, Holly puts the ring on her finger and runs after Paul, helping him to find Cat. Drenched and crying, she clutches the cold animal to her breast, and she and Paul kiss.

Fun Fact:
According to Hollywood gossip, Audrey Hepburn detested Danish pastries, but during the filming of the opening scene, she had to act as if she loved them, not merely for the camera but in front of hundreds of onlookers. Her nervousness resulted in many mistakes and many “takes.”

Released October 5, 1961
Starring Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, George Peppard as Paul “Fred” Varjak, Patricia Neal as 2-E (Mrs. Failenson), Buddy Ebsen as Doc Golightly, and Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi
Directed by Blake Edwards
Based on the novel of the same name by Truman Capote
Theme song “Moon River” by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer
Academy Awards: Best Music, Original Song; Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture

Bread and Tulips (Pane e tulipani)

Only in the movies would being left at a rest stop by her tour bus cause a middle-aged housewife to rethink her entire existence and embark on a completely unpredictable and life-changing “vacation.” After waiting for hours, Rosalba (Maglietta) decides to hitchhike home; when one of her rides suggests that she continue on to Venice, she daringly agrees. And then dares to stay as a guest in a stranger’s apartment, to take a job as a florist’s assistant, and to keep putting off her return home to her husband and children.

Although Bread and Tulips does not focus on food, what Italian film can get by without showing at least some fine dining? At the Marco Polo—where Rosalba meets Fernando (Ganz), who becomes an integral part of her experiences in Venice—she dines on white beans (cannellini) with hard-boiled eggs. Because the restaurant’s chef is out with appendicitis, only cold dishes are available, so the next day she selects an anchovy salad with tomatoes, olives, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, pickles, bread sticks, and red wine. Breakfast at Fernando’s consists of bread with jam and butter, an apple, orange juice, milk, sugar cookies, and coffee. Indeed, very little hot food is served during the course of the film—this is extraordinary for an Italian movie. However, in keeping with the unusual nature of the protagonist’s “vacation,” Rosalba dreams that someone has brought her fresh brussels sprouts and a hair dryer to cook them with: “they cook in no time,” the dream figure announces—a line that seems to encapsulate the movie’s theme, that sometimes a settled life needs no time at all to change directions because it was never really settled in the first place.

Released 2000
Directed by Silvio Soldini
Written by Doriana Leondeff and Silvio Soldini
Starring Licia Maglietta as Rosalba Barletta, Bruno Ganz as Fernando Girasoli, Giuseppe Battiston as Constantino Caponangeli, Antonio Catania as Mimmo Barletta, Marina Massironi as Grazia, Vitalba Andrea as Ketty, Daniela Piperno as Woman in Car, Tatiana Lepore as Adele, and Felice Andreasi as Fermo
Awards: 2000 David di Donatello Awards for Best Actor (Ganz), Best Actress (Maglietta), Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Sound, Best Supporting Actor (Battiston), and Best Supporting Actress (Massironi); 2001 Guild of German Art House Cinemas Silver Award for Foreign Film; 2000 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbon for Best Actress (Maglietta), Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Andreasi), and Best Supporting Actress (Massironi); 2001 Pula Film Festival Golden Arena Awards in European Competition for Best Actor (Ganz) and Best Screenplay; 2001 Swiss Film Prize for Best Actor (Ganz); 2001 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival Film Discovery Jury Award for Best Screenplay