Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 09/07/20: Loved *Chef*, Garden Fresh Family Dinner, Billy Collins and Old Movies BONUS A Limerick by Stu

Jazz update: Yesterday, as I wrote about Sunday, I forgot to write that all day long I listened to the daring and often disjointed, but always ingenious, sounds of Eric Dolphy and took special pleasure in listening to his exploration of the bass clarinet as a jazz instrument.

Monday's morning music: Aja, Steely Dan.

1. Byrdman and I were going to go on an outing today, but we mutually agreed to postpone it because of the high winds roaring in North Idaho and Eastern Washington (and elsewhere in the region). I was in a food movie mood after watching Big Night last night, so this morning I watched Chef, a movie starring and directed by Jon Favreau. In it, Favreau plays a high-powered chef who, for a variety of reasons, has had it with the high end restaurant business and decides to open a food truck. His great cooking and personal friend, Martin (John Leguizamo) and his pre-teen son Percy (Emjay Anthony) join him in his new venture.

This movie uplifted me. It's a superbly cast movie with a splendid comic script. Like many comedies, from my point of view, it's a movie built on how we wish things could be in life more than it's a realistic movie and that worked beautifully for me. The movie's soundtrack is varied and often exhilarating and this movie fired up my imagination about cooking. The food we see being prepared is awesome to look at and it's fun to watch characters in the movie enjoy it so much. 

Chef Roy Choi helped bring this movie into being as a co-producer and food consultant. In 2019, Chef Roy Choi and Jon Favreau teamed up and are featured in a Netflix series entitled, The Chef Show. This evening, I checked it out and watched Chef Roy Choi and Jon Favreau's visit to Chef Wolfgang Puck at his Las Vegas steakhouse, CUT.

I loved watching Chef Wolfgang Puck walk Jon Favreau through the process of perfectly preparing a variety of cuts of steak. I learned more about steak preparation and I realized, in a way I never had before, how crucial sophisticated kitchen equipment and high quality ingredients are for a high end restaurant like CUT. I thought and thought and dreamed and dreamed about how much fun it would be to cook on the kind of grill featured at CUT and to have access to the great variety of other equipment (and ingredients) featured in this half hour program.

Oh, well. I'll keep doing my best with what I got -- but I might buy a couple of new pans or something!

2. With Cubano sandwiches and brisket sliders dancing in my head after watching Chef, I arrived at Carol and Paul's to join them and Christy and Everett for family dinner. Carol prepared a meal that was focused on many foods harvested from her gardens. We started with a delicate and fresh salad and moved on to green beans and bacon, a compliment to the main dish, cabbage stuffed with beef, served in a delicious tomato sauce or broth, depending on one's point of view. We ended the evening drinking small pours from the bottle of Tuaca that Christy brought for us to share. It was a delicious and soothing digestif.

3. This afternoon I watched Dustin Johnson close out the 2020 PGA Tour Championship golf tournament, thus saving my viewing of the Billy Collins Poetry Broadcast until after dinner. I enjoyed the poems he read by Mark Strand, Pablo Neruda, and Katha Politt, all focused on pleasures and comforts: a pot roast, a pair of socks, and, at the end of her poem, Politt relishes the idea of a lost dog finding its home. Billy Collins also read two of his own poems, "I Ask You" and "Breathless".

In introducing "Breathless", Billy Collins commented a bit on the 1960 Jean-Luc Godard movie, Breathless. For me, the timing couldn't have been better. I am in the mood to watch movies made in France and Italy from the 1960s and 70s. In particular, I've had King of Hearts (1966) and Amarcord (1973) in mind, and now I'll add Breathless to my list.

I'm not only in the mood for these adventurous, innovative, and unusual older movies, I'm also in the mood to relive, as best I can in the tiny house I live in with our modest-sized Vizio screen, the experience of going to movies at my favorite micro-cinemas, namely The Magic Lantern in Spokane, the long shuttered Cinema 7 in Eugene, the nearly forty-year old Bijou Art Cinemas near the Univ of Oregon in Eugene, and the Broadway Metro in Eugene's downtown. Many of my most prized and exhilarating movie going experiences happened in these four theaters and I love trying to recreate being back in them simply by replaying at home movies I saw, or wish I'd seen, in these houses.

Here's a limerick by Stu:

So much we try to arrange.
So what's not in our plans we think strange.
We can be happily surprised,
Or face events we've despised.
But it's amazing how fast things can change.

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