Monday, March 1, 2010

culinary cinema

As a kid, I repeatedly refused to try peanut butter & jelly sandwiches because I was convinced that there could be no way two so seemingly different things could go well together. Imagine how distraught I was when, at the age of 14, I reluctantly had a tiny bite of my sister's pb&j sandwich... and realized I had just tasted one of the best snacks of all time!

I share this anecdote because I firmly believe that some facts exist simply to be proven wrong. Like the fact that when you go to the movies, you should eat popcorn. Or nachos with cheese dip. And lots of candy on the side. I remember various instances at which I exited the cinema feeling like a junkfood wastebasket, not at all content with myself. Little did I know that one day, I would be introduced to the concept of 'culinary cinema'.

The idea is simple: participants first attend the private screening of a selected film, which is preceded by introductory words of the film's director. Afterwards, they take part in a group lunch (or dinner), which is prepared to match and reflect the previously seen film.

My friends and I went to see The Rainbow Warriors of Waiheke Island, a documentary by the dutch film maker Suzanne Raes. The movie tells the story of a group of first-generation Greenpeace activists, who set sail on an old barge with the intention of protecting mother earth from the dangers of nuclear waste transports, whale hunting and other risky businesses. Scene snippets from old Greenpeace film archives are contrasted with coverage of the former crew member's live's today. The focus of the film lies not only on an accurate depiction of the activists' lifestyle in the seventies and eighties, but also on the detonation of two bombs in 1985 which had been placed on the ship by french secret service agents, destroying the vessel and killing a crew member.

After seeing The Rainbow Warriors of Waiheke Island, we enjoyed a meal prepared by Wam Kat, peace activist and former crew member of the Rainbow Warrior himself! Although his days of sailing the seas are over, Wam Kat is still a vehement peace activist. He works as a cook at political protests and demonstrations around the world, and has recently publish a book entitled 24 Rezepte zur Kulinarischen Weltverbesserung (recipes for improving the world through culinary means). Subsequently, the 3-course menue which he prepared for us consisted entirely of vegan and wholefood products. My personal favourite: vegan apple crumble. Hmmmm!
.Q & A session with Raes and Wam Kat