“An artist is never poor” – Babette

Our passion for food over the years has no bounds, painted on so many canvases and penned down in literary works. It’s certainly a joy to come across such delights that revolve around the culinary arts.  As modern as our day might be, we can’t leave our sapid instincts aside.

Last night, I took a seat as Babette’s feast  played on, a slight fear sinking in as the title was Babette’s Gaestebud. I have nothing against foreign movies with subtitles, though they do tend to steal focus off the film. After a long busy day, I’d like to watch the film and not read the script.  I was warned that the start would be a bit slow, but it wasn’t. I could have done without people laughing at the hymns in the beginning. A trait that pops up throughout the movie. It shares similarities with other food centred films such as ‘Chocolat’, where indulging our senses with food is viewed as a taboo, Satan’s temptation.

Credit: Anderson Mendonca

Blooming rosemary in the garden, credit’s to my cousin Andy.

So we’re exposed to the paternally controlled lives of two sisters, each whom gives up love for their father’s better interests. We skip ahead to when Babette arrives, a woman who’s lost her husband and son to the civil wars in Paris. Her only connection to home being a lottery ticket sent by her cousin. So she learns the ways of living life in Jutland and soon has an important presence in the village to the point of an old man thanking God for her presence. So I’d suggest you to watch the movie than have me describe it. There are moment’s in the movie worth observing and taking note of, especially the French dinner.

It’s a simple film, that speaks volumes through various forms. No one could understand the hymns or the songs, yet there was a certain beauty about her. I admired the etiquette followed at various scenarios in the movie. The scene with Babette receiving her letter from Paris, was nostalgic. It’s a trait I picked watching my mother, who’d always clean up, sit and open a letter. It’s something most people ignore, in what they call a rush hour life, but if we have time to instagram a picture, I think following some etiquettes isn’t that bothersome. Babette’s manner of hygiene in the kitchen to even snapping at ‘Alec’ the server for drinking some fine wine was delightful.

"It was not just for you" - Babette

“It was not just for you” – Babette

The dinner was extravagant with big spoons of caviar next to dollops of sour cream, Quails stuffed with foie gras and truffles in vol au vents, turtle soup accompanied by fine wines and champagne.  I didn’t really catch on to the dessert which I’m assuming is a Kugelhopf due to the shape. The dinner resolves with the conservative village folk reconciling and admiring the food against their decision to not indulge in it. A spark that came by happened to be when the general, one of the sisters former suitor, mentioned ‘Cafe Anglais’ to which I saw no one react to. I clicked as I remembered it was a famous restaurant in Paris under Chef Duglere, never remembered his first name. The chef whom I came about while reading on Pommes Anna and then Potage Germiny which I confuse more than often as Germany. Oh, the sad pit of knowing things that seem unimportant.

It’s one of the few movies I’ve watched, during which I felt no need for popcorn or drinks. It had a firm grasp on me, not sure about everyone else. As everything goes, I enjoyed the film, a bit more than expected, especially watching it a second time. It’s quite short on time, though quite compact with it’s story that focuses on the art of preparing good food.

P.S. – The next movie I’m keen on watching is Spinning Plates. I’ve been busy, there are half written posts due to complete.


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