Food, Glorious Food - une femme d'un certain âge

Food, Glorious Food

Les Saveurs du Palais

Saturday night we stayed in and watched “Les Saveurs du Palais,” (re-titled “Haute Cuisine” for US release). It’s based on the story of Danièle Delpeuch, a restaurant owner and truffle grower from Perigord who was asked to become the personal chef for French President François Mitterand. She agrees only reluctantly but throws herself into the task of cooking “like his grandmother used to cook for him.” Obstacles abound of course, and make for interesting (and sometimes funny and very touching) story arcs, but this movie is really about the food, and the strong sense of terroir in traditional French cooking. There’s a sensibility (and sensuality) in the recipes described evoking not only unique regions, but how the flavors and textures mingle that I would imagine is becoming more and more difficult to maintain and pass along with the globalization of tastes and products.

While cooking (and eating!) at this level is impractical for most of us, the movie reminded me of how important ingredients are, how with fresh ingredients even the simplest dish can utterly seduce the taste buds, and how difficult it is for so many of us to source local, fresh, reasonably priced foodstuffs. I’m very glad for the expansion of farmers’ markets here, though they’re often scheduled during my work hours. While not in the same league as your average French marché, our Sunday morning “local” still offers up some tasty selections from week to week.

Heirloom veggies

There’s one fellow who’s usually there with a gorgeous selection of heirloom veggies. Two of those tomatoes came home with me….sliced and sprinkled with salt and pepper they were Heaven On A Plate.


Another booth has had a wonderful selection of berries the past few weeks. One of each kind, please!

Dried fruits

I was happy to find some organic roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds at this booth, which saved me a  trip to the specialty grocery.

Byron examines produce

Not shown: a dozen ranch fresh eggs from “happy” (outdoor) free-range chickens. #buylocal

You might be thinking Byron is disappointed by the lack of meat, however he LOVES fruit and veggies and would have been all over this loot had I turned my back for more than a second. I’ve been craving radishes for the last few days, think I have it covered here! That fresh hummus is from a local producer, and some of the best I’ve ever tasted.


These cherries aren’t from the farmers’ market, but they are Like Candy™.

I can think of a few other movies that over the years have brought home the joy and beauty of preparing and sharing good food: Eat Drink Man Woman, Babette’s Feast, Julie & Julia, Big Night, Chocolat, Like Water For Chocolate …what are your favorites?

Do you have a local farmers’ market? If so, how often are you able to visit?

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  1. June 23, 2014 / 3:41 am

    Oh I think your veggies are supermodels in comparison to ours, I am completely enamoured by those carrots above.

  2. Faux Fuchsia
    June 23, 2014 / 4:10 am

    I loved Haute Cuisine but the Aussie accents were dreaders on the journos. I loved Babette’s feast and often re-create parts of her menu esp the blinis. Mostly Martha- the original one from Germany not the awful Catherine Zeta Jones one was really good and so was the Chef. xxx

  3. GingerR
    June 23, 2014 / 4:16 am

    We have a market in our local area on Saturdays and I drop by sometimes. With just the two of us I try to be careful with my purchases because it’s easy to get carried away and end up with wasted food. We could certainly take on those lovely berries.

    I’ve been seeing a lot of dishes with radishes lately. I guess they aren’t those boring things always appearing in salad with iceberg lettuce anymore.

  4. Susan A.
    June 23, 2014 / 6:17 am

    I’m a subscriber to a local CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) and, by offering to be our neighborhood’s drop-off location, get my weekly box for FREE! It’s a chance to see my friends as they come to claim their boxes; a way to get the best, freshest, organic produce ever; and sometimes an a-ha moment as I learn to prepare things I might not select at a market.

  5. plutrell
    June 23, 2014 / 6:25 am

    I would love to see these…I have only seen Julie & Julia…but since I am in weight loss mode, this might make me hungry!!

  6. Patricia
    June 23, 2014 / 6:43 am

    Thank you for the reminder that I need to get to our twice-weekly farmer’s market in Madison, Wisconsin. (And we have a number of markets in local communities surrounding Madison.) We are so fortunate to have these markets and they are great fun, to boot.

  7. Northmoon
    June 23, 2014 / 7:11 am

    I’m very lucky that we have a farmer’s market in the square right outside my office tower every Thursday. Also we have several in parks around my neighbourhood on weekends and I’m close to one of the best markets in the world according to National Geographic America – so I have no excuse not to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables!!

    Supporting local growers is very important to me. We need to keep producing the heirloom varieties of fruit and vegetables for the best taste, the best nutritional benefit and to keep the genetic diversity of our food. People don’t realize how much flavour has been lost by selecting plants to meet shipping and storage requirements.

    Off my soapbox now, enjoy your radishes!

  8. Tickie 2
    June 23, 2014 / 7:12 am

    Loved the movie Tortilla Soup–a Mexican American version of Eat Drink Man Woman–and set in southern California. Tampopo is a Japanese comedy about a woman struggling to run a successful noodle shop (by mastering the perfect noodle technique as taught by her mentor), and Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a documentary about the humble perfectionist who founded Japan’s most famous sushi restaurant. Could go on and on…

  9. Mary Sears
    June 23, 2014 / 7:14 am

    “Soul Kitchen” by Fatih Akin
    full of charming young men and also set in Hamburg as is “Mostly Martha”!
    Thanks for an “edible” post and your fascinating well written comments on everything!

  10. Luisa Perkins
    June 23, 2014 / 7:16 am

    The recent indie release CHEF was very fun. Breathtaking food!

    We’re doing a house exchange in Burgundy for three weeks in July, and the gorgeous local food will take center stage for us. We cannot wait.

    Stateside, there’s nothing better than a good local farmer’s market!

  11. amelie
    June 23, 2014 / 7:20 am

    Yes, I regularly check out our local Saturday morning farmers market, supermarket offerings cannot hold a candle to these treats! Although I love the look of heirloom tomatoes, haven’t found any yet which can compare to the taste of present day varieties.

    As to movies, I will search out Haute Cuisine. I used to enjoy the food scenes on The Sopranos. And I always thought the Archie McNally character in the Lawrence Sanders novels tucked into the most mouthwatering meals! (Don’t judge, it’s fun beach reading! ) And also Kay Scarpetta in Patricia Cornwell’s books loves to kick back in her kitchen and whips up amazing simple but delicious sounding Italian meals! Makes me almost want to make pizza dough from scratch!

  12. pink azalea
    June 23, 2014 / 8:22 am

    “Today’s Special” about a young man trying to make it as a chef when he has to take over his Dad’s NY restaurant, Tandoori Palace. Really enjoyed this movie and the other ones you mentioned. We like to cook and I buy organic produce as much as possible. Because of the cost, we try not to waste anything. We also try to buy produce marketed as “local” because of the environmental impact of shipping. We have a few farmer’s markets, some with a good variety, but I haven’t been lately. Buying organic is one of the major factors in what we buy.

  13. June 23, 2014 / 8:50 am

    We have a local Saturday market a few blocks from our house and there are many in town on different days so it is easy to find fresh fruit and produce.
    I live watching foodie films but they make me hungry!
    What I insist on is free range eggs as the colour of the yolks and the flavour are unbeatable.
    Growing a few veggies in our backyard gives me great satisfaction and it is so convenient.
    Your dog looks like he is waiting for a treat!

  14. Christine G
    June 23, 2014 / 9:09 am

    You must see “Chef”. I found it delightful, as I note above that others have also. Love the Santa Monica markets, especially the festive Sunday one. We also hit up the Hollywood market, and our own local Burbank one. All good! It’s so nice to talk to the people who bring the food to you.

  15. Jeanne Maxon
    June 23, 2014 / 10:43 am

    Agree that CHEF is a delight for the eyes, tummy, and heart! It’s now on my list of all-time best *food* movies –

  16. Duchesse
    June 23, 2014 / 11:01 am

    We live 5 min. from the largest outdoor public market in North America, (Marché Jean Talon in Montréal) the quality and choices are fantastic and prices, if you buy in season and don’t have a taste for the super exotic, are competitive. I am deeply grateful for this, shopping daily and achieving close to no waste. JT has a mix of local growers and imports (no, we do not grow pineapples around here!) One of the great joys of life!

  17. Nomad at heart
    June 23, 2014 / 11:10 am

    While not a movie (yet) I just finished reading “The School of Essential Ingredients” by Erica Bauermeister. To quote a review “A delicate, meltingly hymn to food and friendship” Great read!

  18. Swan
    June 23, 2014 / 3:16 pm

    Loved this film and thank you for reminding me of it. So well acted with just the right balance of humour and wonder. I also liked Madame’s independant spirt.
    Bon apitite

  19. Studio Cottage
    June 23, 2014 / 4:36 pm

    I loved this film.

  20. June 23, 2014 / 8:37 pm

    Oh wow, this looks amazing! Thank you for posting about this film. I have fallen down the rabbit hole of tv shows, I’ve forgotten about film. Gosh… my favorite “food” movies are kind of wierd… The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Amazing, Hellen Mirren- costume design by Gaultier. But it’s quite surreal. And Delicatessen. Which we all know what happens in that one. Eek! Still.. great move.

  21. June 23, 2014 / 11:04 pm

    I just watched Haute Cuisine tonight on Netflix. I really enjoyed it. Hortense was elegant even when she was cooking. Saturday I saw Chef which was another mouth-watering movie.

  22. charlieg
    June 24, 2014 / 6:26 am

    I’ve been trying to see this movie. I rent from Netflix and it is listed as not yet available. Any suggestions?


    • une femme
      June 24, 2014 / 6:47 am

      charlieg, are you searching under title “Haute Cuisine”? That’s how we found it.

      • charlieg
        June 24, 2014 / 10:32 am

        Thanks very much for your reply. I called Netflix and it is being offered through streaming only. They are negotiating at this time for the rights to DVD rental. I have been waiting a year to see this movie. Guess I’ll have to wait a bit longer. I second the reccomendation for Chef. We saw it over the weekend and it was quite enjoyable. Of course, we had to go in search of a Cuban restaurant afterwards and eat a Cubano sandwich.

  23. June 24, 2014 / 6:49 am

    thanks for the movie recommendation – will check it out. We have a farmer’s market here that we love to go to, love to support our local growers, theirs is a labor of love. All those food photos of yours are beautiful. I’ll have some of those berries, and maybe take home the dog too! Too cute!

  24. Linda B.
    June 24, 2014 / 7:15 am

    Like Susan A. above, I am a member of a CSA. The biodynamic vegetables and fruits are actually grown on a corner of the property where I work–so very handy. It is so amazing to eat “local and fresh” in this way.

    Another movie recommend: we recently saw “The Lunchbox”–an Indian film that was fantastic. More about the human story than the food, but the food is an amazing “supporting star”!

  25. Pam Lally
    June 24, 2014 / 5:19 pm

    You have to watch one of my favorite movies: “Mostly Martha” (get the version in German with subtitles and ignore the poorly done American remake No Reservations).

  26. Molly
    June 24, 2014 / 10:03 pm

    A great food movie I recently saw was called “The Lunchbox.” It is an Indian movie – sort of a rom/com, interesting and very sweet

  27. Karen
    June 25, 2014 / 8:22 pm

    Oh Byron, you are adorable, you….

    I saw “Chef” last night and now all I want is a Cubano sandwich from a food truck.

  28. Swan
    July 12, 2014 / 3:30 pm

    I loved this film. This chef put such great emphasis on quality regardless of cost to either the given budget or her job. An unusual twist keeps us interested and the acting is first rate. French films always have that je ne sais quoi !

    follow,follow,follow me on Swan-Now living in France

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