Friday, October 7, 2011

Cooking History - Film of War & Food

If you love food... and I assume you do if you're reading my blog... and if you love film, then naturally you'll be interested in the biAnnual Slow Motion Food Film Festival coming to Wolfville, Nova Scotia November 11-14th.  Lots of foodie films, fun foodie events (including a Barn Dinner prepared by Chefs Michael Howell of The Tempest, Wolfville, Craig Flinn of Chives Canadian Bistro, Halifax, and Peter Jackson, this communal dinner in the barn at Kenny's Farm Market will feature spit-roasted Tamworth pork, seasonal dishes, local wines, and Stutz apple cider).  The complete schedule of films and events will be available by October 15th.   I'll keep you posted.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Launch Party, and went to a screening of  Cooking History, a documentary film shown at the Atlantic Film Festival.  I'm not sure what I expected of the film.   I knew it was about wars and cooking and history, but somehow thought it would take us through the ages with possibly a sampling or two of what Genghis Khan fed his solders.    In fact, it focused on more recent wars and conflicts - six in all from WWII to conflicts between Serbs & Croatians.  It's a documentary interviewing cooks for each of these campaigns and focuses on the Northern European front.  The web site front page has this subtitle, which sets the stage.

★ 6 WARS ★ 11 RECIPES ★ 60 361 024 DEAD ★

It definitely gave me, if you'll pardon the pun... food for thought... and a very different perspective on war, and particularly supplying troops with what they need.  If you're like me - supplying armies means weapons, transportation, weapons, clothing, weapons and ... well truthfully, I never gave much thought to food.  Other than my dad always saying that my mother and I must have gotten our culinary training in the military, because ... "we always cook for an army".

Back in 2007, I reviewed a cookbook called Ships of the Great Lakes which certainly opened my eyes to the amount of food required.  But then, we never actually had any wars in North America for hundreds of years.

What became clear to me during this film is the truth that an army really functions as well or as poorly as the food they're provided with.  I don't want to spoil if for anyone interested in seeing it.  But you can check out the trailer on YouTube.  Some of the real heroes of any conflict are the cooks.   Finding ingredients, cooking in a battle zone, and all the other challenges are reason enough for me to want to give them all medals.   Not a career for the timid!

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