Cooking

Nora Ephron on Set

Nora Ephron‘s film career – despite three Oscar nominations and credit with re-inventing an entire genre – somehow doesn’t get the legendary status that it probably deserves. She only wrote and/or directed a few more than a dozen movies, but in those films she delivered iconic characters that achieved a sense of honesty that few filmmakers are even brave enough to approach. She fought myopic views about her sex to build fame as a journalist, an essayist, a novelist, a screenwriter and a director. She got started in screenwriting because everyone else was writing scripts, her film school was being on set with Mike Nichols, and her work made a huge impact on popular culture and faked orgasms. So here it is, a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a comedy genius.

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Recent culture has given us a view of chefs as either dainty elitists, screaming lunatics or rats voiced by Patton Oswalt. Paul Liebrandt is none of these things. He’s an accomplished artist that makes for an incredibly compelling subject matter. He’s bold and inventive, but he’s also shy and somewhat socially reserved. He demands perfection and has the sharp tongue to do so, but he also praises his employees when they do well and treats them mostly as equals. He’s a genius that is on the cusp of being celebrated, but he’s still hustling it out in the kitchen. A film about Liebrandt is undoubtedly a great idea, which is why it’s a shame that A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt fails in its execution. It’s a too-straightforward look at the duller parts of the chef’s life, leading up to an incompletely portrait of the most important moment of his career.

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Sunday Shorts

Today I turn thirty, and on this milestone date I figured it was time for some reflection, some thanks for my health — and an opportunity to exorcise some of my redneck demons. I’d like to think I’m reasonably well cultured at this point; I’ve seen the world, learned (and forgotten) another language, and have a dining palate that reflects my travels. Still, I was born in West Texas. This dictates that, no matter how far I’ve traveled from cowboy boots and questionable haircuts — I’ve still made some choices that are decidedly ‘hick’. So, it’s time to purge myself of a secret shame I’ve carried for years — my former love of the culinary delight known as the “bologna bowl”. To spool you up on exactly what this delicious nightmare consists of, is Raymond McAnally of Daily Fiber Films. Enjoy, be horrified, and finally — resist the urge to visit the packaged meats section of your local grocer today. Resiiiiiiist…

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