Food flicks bring together two of my favorite modes of entertainment: movies and food . . . duh. In my house, we watch two types of flicks: action movies and art films (food movies generally falling into the latter category). Babette's Feast, with its Academy Award for best foreign language film, is in the upper echelon of the food-film genre, if not the ultimate foodie flick. In my opinion, Babette's Feast started the whole food-film craze. If you call yourself a foodie and haven't seen the movie, you should lay down your stripes until you view it.
The movie takes place in a small Calvinist village on the coast of Denmark in the nineteenth century. The story begins with two sisters and their overbearing, staunchly religious father who makes the girls stay in the village when they have opportunity for love and world travel. Eventually, their father passes on, and they become a couple of charitable, religious spinsters in an aging town. One day, a French refugee named Babette shows up in the village with a letter of recommendation asking to stay with the sisters; in turn, she will cook and clean for free. As the story progresses, a beautiful and stark picture is painted regarding the way of life and the cuisine available to the villagers.
One day, Babette begs to cook a real French meal for the elders. The elders are mortified because they fear the food has a demonic quality and all vow to eat but not enjoy the food. This is the pinnacle of the film as Babette secures truffles, foie gras, caviar, and Champagne from France through her sailor nephew. She spends hours making some of the most beautiful classic cuisine seen in cinema. Needless to say, the elders have a hard time not enjoying the food. From start to finish, the movie has the pace of a perfect multi-course dinner.
So, curl up with a glass of 1860 Veuve Clicquot, enjoy a bit of Caviar Demidoff, and lose yourself in Babette's Feast.