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Unsavoury scenes

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Back in August you gave us your favourite foodie film scenes. The usual suspects were there; Chocolat, Tampopo, Sideways. Not a bad mix, but personally when I think of film and food I remember the less pleasant scenes. The cooked lover in The Cook, The Thief..., the live squid eaten in Korean shocker Oldboy, the boy forced to eat an entire chocolate cake in Matilda ...

Perhaps because cinema doesn't allow the taste and smell of food to be conveyed (yet), directors go for spectacle, often achieved through sheer volume. Consider the wafer thin mint which proves to be a mouthful too far in Monty Python's Meaning of Life, or the man forced to eat himself to death in Se7en, and of course Supersize Me; some viewers found it stomach-churning, others found it made them crave a Big Mac.

The drama of Dinner

Dinner before or after the show? OK, it's not quite up there with 'to be or not to be', but if you attend the theatre on even a semi-regular basis, it's still a question of considerable importance. Paines Plough have come up with a possible solution during their current season at Shunt Vaults, with the self-explanatorily titled A Play, A Pie and A Pint, where your £10 ticket includes a drink and some pastry-cased sustenance. But this is a novelty rather than the norm.

No reservations about RatatouilleSusan Smillie / arts 05:28pm

ratatouille.jpgThese animated chefs know how to deal with rats in the kitchen. From "Ratatouille".

In tomorrow's Review, Jay Rayner confirms my suspicion that the film No Reservations would turn out to be a horribly schmaltzy Hollywood affair.

Not so, apparently, with new food movie Ratatouille - a decent effort by Pixar about a rat who wants to cook. Don't wait till tomorrow, read Rayner's take here now.

Got a favourite foodie film?Susan Smillie / arts 03:03pm

Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church in Sideways. Photograph: AP.

News yesterday that there's not one, but two films to be made about the 1976 Judgment of Paris, (the painful day for French viticulture when wine experts blindly chose a bunch of California wines over France's finest - no, I didn't know either), got me thinking about some of the great food and drink films that have been made.

One of the best, according to the folk on egullet's discussion board, is Mostly Martha, a German romcom which has just been remade, American style, as No Reservations. Warner Brothers have it set inside a fictional New York restaurant with Catherine Zeta-Jones playing the head chef. Looking at the trailer , there seems to be some emphasis on food and the celebration of cooking, but I suspect it degenerates into a Hollywood feelgood; as Zeta-Jones cavorts with her sous chef she breathes such wistful lines as: "I wish there was a cook book for life." Oh dear. Still, it's probably worth a look just for some food porn.

And, no matter, because there have been some damn fine food and drink films made already.

Eggs, bacon and encoreSusan Smillie / arts 07:09pm

Breakfast on offer at Mem Morrison's new show. Photograph: Susan Smillie.

There's been a lot of interest recently in Leftovers, a show by Mem Morrison, which is set in a "greasy spoon caff" and feeds each audience member a full cooked breakfast during the performance.

The foodiest festivals everSusan Smillie / arts / ethical / festivals 12:55pm

Traditional Glastonbury festival fare.
Photograph: Martin Godwin/Guardian.Food at festivals has changed beyond recognition. I'm not talking about food festivals - that's tomorrow, and besides, you'd hope they would have some gastronomic delights on offer - but arts and music festivals.

Long gone, it seems, are the days where the festival reveller arrives at the catering area to find a choice of anaemic hotdogs with slippery onions or cheese 'crepes' so thin you can barely tell where the paper bag ends and lunch begins.

John Shuttleworth is the new Jamie Oliver Susan Smillie / arts 09:55am

John Shuttleworth, the chef from Sheffield.
I spent half of last week combining food and t'arts at the Bloomsbury. First up, Alex James, there, supposedly, to talk about his book and the heady Blur days, but much to my delight (and his interviewer, music journalist Miranda Sawyer's despair) he kept straying to the subject currently closest to his heart: cheese. Then Saturday night saw the venue pay another homage to food, this time in the form of John Shuttleworth's show: With My Condiments. John casts himself an older Jamie Oliver, and as such, has embarked on a nationwide mission to improve our dietary health, from one sheltered housing complex to the next.

Eat to the BeatKevin Anderson / arts 06:06pm

A shake with rattle and roll
Photograph: fab4chiky on Flickr cc_icon_attribution_small.gif.As a blogger, I'm slightly obsessive about checking out who is linking to us here at Word of Mouth. There's a whole world of food blogs out there, and one of them I found in our links was The Food Section. They've got a killer post: Edible Audio: One Hundred Songs about Food.

AOL asked them to come up with a playlist of food-inspired songs for their blogger radio, and Josh Friedland obliged. It is a feast of food-related tunes. Your mission should you choose to accept it is to expand on this quite comprehensive list of 100 tunes. For inspiration, Josh gives you details on how to listen to his picks

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Theatre of food


I'm intrigued by talk of a free piece of theatre at the Barbican in London this weekend where we'll 'enjoy the spectacle of a group of babies tucking into a three course meal at a very special restaurant'.

Is food art?Susan Smillie / arts 12:06pm

Eat London, an edible city created by artists, designers, and - presumably - bakers. Photograph courtesy of Lift. Comment on their project here.

If canned shit can be art, asked Jonathan Jones last week, why can't gourmet food be similarly elevated?

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Unsavoury Scenes