The relationship between the big screen and the culinary arts begins at the dawn of black and white cinema and it hasn’t stopped since.
We all know the iconic scene from the film An American in Rome (1954) in which Alberto Sordi literally attacks a plate of spaghetti with the famous cry “Maccherone, mi hai provocato e io ti distruggo!” (”Maccheroni, you provoked me and now I’ll destroy you"; the magical power of chocolate sold by Juliette Binoche in a closed-minded French village in the film Chocolat (2000) and the famous "Bud Spencer beans", served by Terence Hill in They Call Me Trinity (1970), became synonymous with the actor, much like Linus’ security blanket in Peanuts, or Popeye's spinach.
In the last decade, many films have been released in which the protagonist is a cook or a chef. In Burnt (2015), for example, Bradley Cooper plays a famous chef who after having lost everything due to his arrogance and his dissolute lifestyle, manages to climb back to the top of the pile thanks to his passion. What not everyone knows is that the preparations and recipes are certainly not left to chance. It is Michelin-starred British chef Marcus Wareing, long-time right-hand man of Gordon Ramsay, who was on set to plate up the amazing food in the film.
As food often defines the key moments of our lives, and in film you’ll see it used as a metaphor. Whether its for moments of pure joy or as a medicine for life’s woes, pizza is the king. In Eat, Pray, Love (2010) Julia Roberts feels reborn thanks to the dishes she savors during her journey between Naples and Rome - "I'm having a relationship with my pizza, and I love it" became one of the quotes related to food in the most famous films in the history of cinema. In Pixar’s Inside Out (2015), the personifications of emotions determine the behavior of the characters. "Joy" pushes the protagonist to go and eat pizza to forget the sense of disappointment and anger towards the father who always abandons her. More recently, in 2019’s The Two Popes, Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Bergoglio, played by Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, share a slice of pizza in the only moment of real everyday life that manage to carve out among the real official meetings.
Nothing is more evocative than food when it comes to film - whether its an out-of-this-world dish that helps your mind to escape from everyday life, or a symbol of the troubles life throws at you, food is what brings us all together. Now there’s some ‘food for thought’ for your next Netflix marathon!
Live the magic of everyday Italy, and have your very own food adventure... Just like in Eat, Pray, Love!