I took Morgan and Nicole to see Ratatouille on Saturday afternoon. Devon was still in California, Courtney left to go to Washington DC (more on that later) and my DH Alan was golfing!! So the two littles and I went to the movie. I love this movie!! It takes place in Paris and it involves a lot of cooking. Those of you who know me know that these are two of my favorite things. Even though it was a cartoon - the scenes of Paris were amazing and the scenes in the kitchen were just as amazing. I was a little grossed out when the whole rat colony came to help out though - it was just too realistic.
I know there were some less than desirable parts of the movie. The "bad guy" gets the hero drunk. But this scene had one of Nicoles favorite lines from the movie - the drunk boy says that ratatouille sounds like rat patootie- she has said that at least 100 times since hearing it. And the hero is the illegitimate son of the great chef that he is trying to emulate. Neither one of these aspects seemed to have caused my girls to ask any questions - so I am not too worried about it.
Paris is beautiful - it is the city of lights. I haven't spent much time there - but I have spent a lot of time with French people. I adore the Eiffel Tower - to me it is a symbol of all that is French. The French people definitely have an attitude of superiority - and especially when it comes to their food - but the Eiffel Tower is such an example of their snobbery. When Gustav Eiffel constructed the tower for the 1889 exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the French Resolution - people hated it. They thought it was a blight and an eyesore and a folly. In 1909 it was to be torn down but it held important military radar equipment that they could not find another elevated place to install. Then, the tourists started coming and loving the Eiffel tower and including it in great paintings of Paris, and making a big deal of it (it was the world's tallest building until 1930). Once the French realized that others liked it - they started to like it too! Now it is the symbol of France - they practically worship it.
Now to the cooking. I loved the cooking - it was very realistic. I read that the filmmakers from PIXAR went to San Francisco to spend time with Thomas Keller. Thomas Keller is my 2nd favorite French chef - he is very successful and has made real french cuisine more approachable for Americans. He developed the special plate of ratatouille for the movie to make it look realistic but fancy. Real ratatouille is a peasants dish in France. It really is just a thick vegetable stew made with tomatoes, eggplant and squash although the vegetables can vary according to region. When I was on my mission in the South of France, we ate this several times when members cooked it for us - the best part was sopping up the bowl with the wonderful french bread. It is a staple in so many homes.