All posts by Chloe Rochon

Quentin Tarantino Definitely Knows His Way to Our…Stomachs

As we munch on our favourite movie snacks, there is undoubtedly the feeling of craving from watching a movie character indulge in a succulent plate of food. Quentin Tarantino has explained that people fixate on a certain drink or food and will develop an interest in the consumption of said indulges once the picture is over. (Tarantino) A viewer of the film might not understand as to why the character is eating a certain food. Upon further analysis, food is an important aspect of any film, especially ones of the man himself, Quentin Tarantino. To allow for a better comprehension, I will explore the symbolic meaning of food, primarily focusing on the power implicated within the scene, in some of Quentin Tarantino films and why they are significant to the development of his stories.

Quentin Tarantino is a name that any movie goer will recognize. This cinematic crazed director is well known for his convoluted way of integrating classic film techniques into his big screen productions, transforming them into a genre of their own. However, not only is he notorious for his style of shooting a sequence, there is also distinct aspect that he includes in his pictures, which is the presence of food in seemingly normal scenes. (Marshall) His films include at least two scenes where the characters will have a discussion surrounded by as little as a glass of milk to a large feast. One of the main reasons for this is because of the symbolism of what food can allow a scene to emit. It is a subliminal visual queue, allowing the viewers to understand the characters power within the scene.

For instance, in Pulp Fiction, a hitman by the name of Vincent Vega is in charge of keeping his employers wife preoccupied for a few days. He decided to take her out to supper and as they place their orders with the waiter, Mrs. Wallace orders a 5$ milkshake, making Vega questions her decision for the expensive drink. Upon receiving the cold beverage, the hitman asks if he could have a taste of her milkshake, which she allows. It is important to understand that the 5$ shake is a representation of who Mia Wallace is: a self-indulging, alluring, out-of-reach woman that Vincent will only be allowed to have a taste of.  There is also a large tension created over the beverage, giving the audience the feeling that the hitman himself understand the subtext of the whole situation.  (Hopper)

During Kill Bill Vol.2, The Bride undergoes intense kung fu training under the guidance of her master’s teacher. After a long day of training, being in excruciating pain, it is difficult for her to keep a grasp on her chopsticks, making her assume defeat. She forgoes the wooden utensils and instead attempts to consume the steaming rice with her fingers. Her kung fu master angrily tosses the grains to the floor, refusing to let her indulge in the white grains until she treats herself with respectable manners. His use of the bowl of rice is a signifier of power over her weakness. (Hopper) He is teaching her that she must first go through suffering before she can reward herself for her efforts.

As for Inglorious Basterds, dairy is a recurring theme in some important scenes of the film. At the beginning of film, Hans Landa, an SS Colonel introduces himself to a French dairy farmer. Instead of accepting the wine that he was offered, he asks for a glass of milk. Upon receiving it, he slowly drinks the homogenized liquid, creating an anxious filled moment for the host, awaiting the reason for the SS’ visit. As the movie unfolds, the glass of milk makes a second appearance when the Colonel makes the acquaintance of Emmanuelle Mimieux, the owner of a cinema, who happens to be the Jewish girl who escaped at the beginning at the film. As they are seated in a restaurant, he orders two strudels, an espresso for himself and a glass of milk for the young lady. Within that moment, Emmanuelle becomes fully aware of the man that is seated in front of her. The Colonel unquestionably has the upper hand, having the ability to evoke fear within his “prey” simply by the presence of a bland drink. (Hopper) An important aspect of the white drink is to note its colour. White is a symbolism of protection and encouragement, which Hans has the ability to convey towards his counterparts, allowing them to feel comfortable around a man whose uniform certainly does not evoke the same message.

In Django Unchained, a slave owner by the unforgettable name of Calvin Candie invites two strangers into his lavish home, a doctor and a freeman. After an uneventful dinner, the sweet-toothed Mr. Candie offers a slice of white cake to the doctor. His offering of the delectable dessert is to convey his power over his guest, white representing his apparent stance on the subject of slavery. (Hopper) Denying the slice of cake, the doctor also communicates his ideology on the same subject. This creates an even greater tension between the two characters.

As a reoccurring theme throughout these four films, the colour white is a vital trait to the selected foods.  The connotation associated with the colour in these particular films is very specific. Symbolically, white is known for being the colour of peace, purity, and innocence. (Color Wheel Pro)   However, in a Tarantino production, it is the foreshadowing of an unfortunate events that can also be an implication of power within itself. (Hopper)

Occasionally, the food itself is not a symbolism of power, however the action done upon the food has the possibility to have the same signifying aspect.  In Pulp Fiction, two hitmen track down a briefcase for their boss. Upon locating the briefcase, they encounter three associates enjoying a cornerstone breakfast of hamburger and fries. Jules Winnfield, one of the hitmen, questions the fellows about their unusual, but delicious choice. He blatantly demands if he could taste a burger for himself. His actions clearly indicate that he is in power. Asking for a bite out of a stranger’s burger is unconventional, however because Jules is an authoritative character, he has the ability to overpower a person.  (Tarantino) There is an evident fright within the associate, incapable of denying the ‘intruder’ of his bite of food. He even allows Jules to take a sip of his Sprite without hesitation, afraid that he might anger him.

As for in Kill Bill Vol. 2, the leading lady is on the hunt to find the man who has made her life a living hell. In a scene where Bill prepares a sandwich for ‘their’ daughter B.B., he uses a noticeably large knife to cut and spread the condiments onto the sandwich. For such a benign task, it allows for tension and violence to be generate between the two adult characters, showcasing that Bill is evidently the stronger individual in that scene. (Dean) It creates suspense within the scene, giving the audience the strong sensation of empowerment within one character and fear within the other, even though the seemingly stronger individual is the one to die. (spoiler alert!)

Symbolism is an important aspect of any story. It helps bring emotion and meaning to any plot. As for Quentin Tarantino, he does so by using food to convey a subliminal message. Typically, he uses food to indicate the power a certain individual may have over another, aiding the development of his stories. He also has the tendency to use foods of white colour to help in the foretelling of the following scenes, as well as aid in the understanding of a characters thoughts. Tarantino himself as send that power is an important element in any of his films, and without the overused motifs symbolizing power within food, it might be lost. Next time you watch a QT film, pay attention to the food and see if you can understand the reasoning behind its existence.

 

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Works Cited

Color Wheel Pro. Color Meaning. n.d. Online Document. 13 December 2016.

Dean, Sam. “All the Food in Quentin Tarantino’s Movies, From Reservoir Dogs to Django Unchained.” 19 December 2012. Bon Appétit. Online Article.

Hopper, Charlie. “No One Enjoys Table Talk and Significant Food More Than Tarantino.” 15 January 2014. A.V. Club. Online Article.

Marshall, Colin. “The Power of Food in Quentin Tarantino’s Films.” 23 April 2013. Open Culture. Online Article.

Tarantino, Quentin. The Treatment Elvis Mitcell. 1 October 2014. Podcast.

 

SYNSEPALUM DULCIFICUM

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Our taste buds allow us to differentiate between the five elements of taste perceptions: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. Without these small receptors located in our mouth, we would not be able to distinguish the foods that we ingest. For instance, we know that a lemon is sour and chocolate is bitter, because of these nerve endings. However, what if there was something that could possibly alter those flavours?

Synsepalum dulcificum, otherwise known as the miracle fruit is a berry known to modify the interoceptors; making sour foods sweet, allowing for a unique experience when consumed. The reason for this occurrence is caused by an enzyme called miraculin, which attaches to the sweet receptors on the tongue. Once the protein comes into contact with a food of low pH, such as a lemon, the miraculin “activates” the sweet receptors, generating the impression of sweet taste.

Used originally as a sweetener for palm wine, the miraculous berry has been utilized in medical practices, mainly being developed commercially for patrons suffering from diabetes, because of its low sugar content. Now that the fruit has been more accessible to the public, the sweet fruit is simply being used to enjoy an alteration of flavour.

If you are interested in samplying these little wonders, they can be purchased in tablets online (i.e.: amazon) for under 20$. It is suggested to try out lemons, tomatoes, salt and vinegar chips, beer (e.g. Guiness), and much more. I am truly intrigued in knowing if anyone has tried this miracle berry, so if you want to share your experience, do not hesitate. (:

Teach Every Child About Food

In Jamie Oliver’s Ted Talk Teach Every Child About Food (2010), he explains to the audience that obesity is not a subject that should be taken lightly. The exposure to poor dietary habits creates an unsafe environment for children to grow in. They become accustomed to the normality of unhealthy eating and become themselves obese, putting their lives at risk from a very young age.

Jamie insinuates that the exposure to an unhealthy diet within the younger generation is caused by what he calls “the landscape of food”. He imagines it as a triangle; at the top being Home, trickling down towards School and Main Street or Modern Day Life.

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Home
He explains that the home was where food culture was a prominent part of the knowledge passed onto the following generation. However in the past couple of decades, there has been a lack in educatin towards this sort of teaching, thus creating a dependency to pre-prepared, store bought frozen food, which typically has very little health benefits. Ultimately resulting in negatives effects towards the young ones.

School
Oliver describes that  what these students consume on a daily basis, typically twice a day, is considered to be fast food, over-processed meals. The reason for this, is because of a monatery restriction that most schools face, however there is an absence of understanding what is considered healthy and saine for the childrens bodies. Consequently leading to poor nutritionally valued meals.

Main Street or Modern Day Life
He implicates that Americans are exposed to unhealthy habits because of the large food corporations (i.e. fast food restaurant, food markets) that surround the cities that they live in. They promote bad eating through the sale of processed foods and false labelling. Which, again, is harmful to the younger generations.

The landscape of food is a perfect example as to why the american people need help with developping better dietary habits. The dangers that they face on a daily basis need to be intervened. Jamie Oliver’s concern about the American people is very real. He belives that if the United States decide to take action in the creation of a better food system, that ultimately it will help the rest of the world do the same.

“I wish for everyone to help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”
– Jamie Oliver

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go_QOzc79Uc

The Best Pasta Salad You’ll Ever Eat!

Maybe not, but you’ll have to try to find out.

Ingredients

  • Rotini pasta
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Kalamata olives in oil (pitted)
  • Red bell peppers
  • Feta cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Chef salad seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar (half of olive oil)
  • Salt and pepper

*You can add as many ingredients to this recipe as you want.

Preparation

1- Boil water
2- While water is boiling, cut all the vegetable into bite size pieces (peppers, tomatoes, olives)
3-  Once water is boiled, pour the pasta into water. Cook them to preference
4- Once cooked, pour pasta into cauldron and rinse with cold water
5- Transfer pasta and cut vegetables into large bowl
6- Mix in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chef salad dressing, salt and pepper
7- Stir until everything is properly coated

* Put the pasta salad in the fridge overnight. It allows the ingredients to absorb the vinegrette and gives it an overall better taste. 

BONNE APPÉTIT!

A MUST WATCH SERIES!!

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Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown is a unique take on the typical travelling foodie show, simply because he himself makes the show an interesting watch. On his 8 season series, as indicated in the title, Bourdain explores areas of the world that are lesser known and indulges in its cuisine and culture.

In the two episodes that I have watched, he travels to two megalopolis’; Manila, in the Philippines, and Marseille in France. On his expenditions throughout these two cities,  he feasts on their traditional dishes. In Manila, he indulges in the traditions of the holiday season by enjoying a ritually prepared pork roast, also called lechon, savours a sweet concoction by the name Halo-halo,  and snacks on some sizzling sisig. In Marseille, being a coastal city, Bourdain savours the most famous seafood dishes the city has to offer, including bouillabaisse.  As he devours these elaborates customary dishes, the term “traditional” has a different significance for the metropolis’, because their cuisine has been largely shaped by other countries before it could be considered their own;  making them one of the same, even though they are miles apart.

As his trips comes to a close, the travelling foodie uses his passion to entrap his viewers in a unique escapade; to travel the world and see what it has to offer in terms of its cuisine and culture.