Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Friday, May 26, 2017

"Snatched" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new Amy Schumer-Goldie Hawn comedy "Snatched" as well as DVDs "Why Him?" and "Shut In."  The Book of the Week is "My Mother's Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and the Meaning of Life" by Peter Gethers. I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "The House is Black."]


Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) is happily planning her upcoming vacation to Ecuador with her boyfriend...until her boyfriend dumps her.  She has an non-refundable ticket.  Who can she get to go with her?  Surely, not her overprotective Mom...

Emily lives in New York City and is your typical millennial - and no offense to millennials, but she is a little, well a lot, self centered and clueless with an Instagram addiction.  When her musician boyfriend breaks up with her she doesn't quite get it.

"I'm breaking up with you," he says over lunch.

To which she cluelessly replies, "When?"

Like I said, clueless.

Well, even though she didn't get it, the break-up is immediate and now Emily is stuck with a non-refundable ticket to Ecuador and can't find anyone to go with her. Worse, she has also lost her job.  She goes home to visit her Mom, Linda (Goldie Hawn), and to lick her wounds.  Linda lives alone and is an empty-nester with a lot of fears.  She occasionally checks online for love, but she is still clearly in Mom mode. She spends her time checking the many locks on her doors and taking care of her agoraphobic grown son, Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz). She also fusses over Emily while Emily takes her mother for granted and basically doesn't approve of her. 

However, while looking through one of her mother's closets, Emily finds an old scrapbook and sees pictures of her Mom from her younger days, traveling and having a great time (this is also a chance for us to also see Goldie back in her heyday which I would bet Goldie wanted us to see since she hasn't made a movie in 15 years).  Emily gets the idea that maybe her mother could be fun and go with her to Ecuador.  After a funny scene where Emily tries to convince Linda to leave her safe environment and have some fun, off they go to Ecuador where Linda plans to sit by the pool and read her book. No mingling with the locals for her!

Meanwhile, Emily meets James (Tom Bateman), a handsome guy who comes on to her in the bar.  He is so handsome and she is so stunned that he wants HER that she throws caution to the wind, much to Linda's chagrin, and goes off with him on a whirlwind tour of the area that includes a party with the locals, where Emily gets very drunk.  But James is a gentleman and returns Emily safely to her room with an invitation for a sightseeing trip the next day. Linda is also invited and reluctantly tags along and that's when it happens....some bad guys ram the car and the next thing Emily and Linda know, they are locked up in a dirty cell.

The two manage to escape the cell, hop a truck and suddenly find themselves in Colombia.  The rest of the film is all about Emily and Linda trying to elude the very bad guy, Morgado (Oscar Jaenada), who didn't take kindly to Emily killing his son.  Emily develops an uncanny and very funny ability to kill bad guys, but more importantly, Emily finally learns that she had her mother pegged all wrong.  Her mother is AWESOME!

Directed by Jonathan Levine and written by Katie Dippold (though I am sure Amy had a hand in it), this is the best comedy to come along in a long while.  Why?  Because it is actually funny.

I know that Amy Schumer is an acquired taste for many.  I actually think she is funny, but sometimes she does go too far with the sex jokes.  Her last stand-up - The Leather Special - was not my cup of tea.  But, hey, I'm old.  I'm not a millennial and probably don't get what millennials like. But that's not to say she isn't funny because she is.

Speaking of millennials, Goldie Hawn might not be a name that young people recognize today.  She hasn't made a movie for 15 years, but for us Baby Boomers she was a household name and made some of the funniest and most enjoyable rom-coms of all time -  "Foul Play," "Private Benjamin," and "Overboard."  Starting out on TV's "Rowen and Martin's Laugh-in," Goldie took ditzy blonde to a new level. 

But no matter what you think of Amy Schumer or whether or not you know who Goldie Hawn is, here is the most important thing - THIS MOVIE IS FUNNY.  Can you believe it?  A comedy that is actually funny.  I haven't seen one of those is a very long time, though I could have done without the scene with the tapeworm.

And in addition to being funny, the film also has a message.  It actually has many messages: it's about the empty nest, mothers and daughters, girl power and even pokes fun at the U.S. State Department, as in don't expect much help from the U.S. if you get kidnapped overseas.

  • The Empty Nest

It's not easy being a Mom and then all-of-a-sudden you aren't one anymore when your kids grow up.  Linda is having a hard time finding herself and restructuring her relationship with her children now that they are adults, and there is a touching scene toward the end of the film when Linda shares with Emily how difficult it is for parents when their children move on without them.

  • Mothers and Daughters
My daughter and I live thousands of miles apart so because of that we try to do a mother/daughter trip together every year so this film really resonated with me, not just the mother/daughter trip but also because of the generation gap, how difficult it is for mothers and daughters to understand each other.  Mothers have a hard time thinking of their daughters as anything other than that little girl who used to sit on their laps and daughters have a hard time thinking of their mothers as anyone other than someone who is getting in their business and trying to tell them what to do.  I know that now that my daughter is an adult, those trips have helped us understand each other better.

  • Girl Power
Once Emily and Linda decide they need to do something about their predicament and take on the bad guys, they do the requisite "Power Walk."  The Power Walk has now become a cliché.  When the filmmakers want us to be sure to know that the heroes or heroines are now going to kick some butt, there is always the Power Walk, where the actors walk in slow motion toward us, shoulder to shoulder, with determined looks on their faces and an iconic soundtrack behind it.  In the most recent "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (which I will review next week)," there wasn't just one Power Walk but TWO!  Anyway, Emily also demonstrates more girl power when she discovers that she has a knack for killing bad guys in a couple of very funny scenes.

  • The U.S. Government
When Jeffrey gets the ransom call from the kidnappers, he immediately calls the State Department where he speaks with Morgan Russell (Bashir Salahuddin), a beleaguered bureaucrat who doesn't take kindly to Jeffrey asking that they send in the A-Team.  The only help he can give is to tell him the women need to get to the consulate in Bogata.  Not very helpful considering the women are miles from Bogata with no money.  Jeffrey and Morgan have a contentious and very funny relationship as Jeffrey continues to try to get him to do something to find his mother and sister. 

Amy is very funny and even a bit toned down, but for me, Goldie was the revelation.  No ditzy blonde, here. She is funny, yes, but she also shows her acting chops and why she was and still is, such a big star. She was totally believable as Emily's Mom, and I loved her.

Ike and Bashir were also stand-outs who provided some of the funniest moments in the film.

And then there is Roger (Christopher Meloni).  When the women are on the run, they meet Roger, who is dressed very much like Indiana Jones. They are thrilled to get his help, because Roger appears to be someone who knows his way around South America.  He has a boat (reminiscent of the boat in Herzog's "Aguirre, Wrath of God") and offers to take them down the Amazon to Bogata. Unfortunately, Roger is not what he appears to be and one of the funniest moments in the film is when he reveals his true identity and why he is in South America.

Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack also provide some comedy but seem like after- thoughts as characters.

Rosy the Reviewer says...this is a very sweet film that mothers and daughters should see together (I wish I could have seen it with mine), but more importantly, FINALLY, a comedy that is actually funny.

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


Why Him? (2016)

What does a Dad do when he doesn't approve of his daughter's choice of husband?

Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) is attending Stanford and, while Skyping from her dorm room with her Dad, Ned (Bryan Cranston), on his 55th birthday, what should he see?  Her boyfriend, Laird's (James Franco), bare bum coming into view as he enters her room with no pants on.  That's our and Ned's first glimpse of Laird.  Not a good start and that sets the stage for what a nut he is and why perhaps Ned would not approve of him.

Ned and his wife, Barb (Megan Mullally, whose voice to me is the equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard) are straight-arrow Midwesterners from Grand Rapids, Michigan (my old neck of the woods, so I know all about those kinds of parents), and when next we see them, the family has flown out to Palo Alto to visit Stephanie, and Stephanie wants them to meet Laird, who it turns out is a billionaire owner of a tech company.

They meet Laird at his impressive compound.  In a classic East meets West culture clash, as in buttoned-up, up-tight East meeting overly-friendly, hugging West, Laird appears and happily shows the family his new tattoo: Stephanie's family's Christmas card picture tattooed on his back, including "Merry Christmas."  Laird is watched over by his major domo, Gustav (Keegan-Michael Key, who is always funny), and one of Gustav's jobs is to attack Laird without warning as a way to keep Laird fit and on his toes, so that is a bit of a shock to our Midwesterners . Laird is also very liberal with the F-bomb and other profanities, which doesn't go over really well either.  Not a great start.

But Laird is trying very, very hard to win Ned and Barb over.  He has put in a bowling alley at his home, because he knows Ned likes to bowl and even has Richard Blais on tap to fix them their meals.  Unfortunately, Blais has prepared edible soil and plantain foam (You "Top Chef" fans will remember that Blais always liked his foam).

So overall Ned is not impressed.

Here is your classic comedy where a seemingly normal young woman has her boyfriend meet her parents and the  boyfriend is decidedly NOT normal and strangely everyone can see that except the girl.  Think "Meet the Parents."

But Ned loves his daughter and wants her to be happy, so despite his misgivings, he says he will give Laird a chance.  Unfortunately, Laird has no filter, overshares, and is very inappropriate, and when he tells them that Stephanie and he are living together and he plans to pop the question, Ned goes ballistic. However, Laird wants Ned's blessing and says he won't marry Stephanie without it.  Just give him until Christmas Day to prove he is worthy.

So now the incentive for Ned is to not give his blessing and to dig up dirt about Laird to prove to Stephanie that she shouldn't marry him.  But naturally it all backfires on Ned.

Laird throws a big Christmas party and does everything he can to impress Ned and Barb.  Kiss, Barb's favorite band, even shows up. It seems that everyone is won over by Laird except Ned. 

James Franco loves to play odd characters that bely his good looks - that nice head of hair and that dazzling smile.  So many in fact that at this point, it would actually be difficult for me to take him seriously in a romantic drama.

Bryan Cranston must have wanted to shed his "Breaking Bad" character and remind us that he can do comedy (he did do comedy earlier in his career with "Malcolm in the Middle."). How else can you explain his being in this film after recent successes in dramas such as "Trumbo" and "All the Way? " And unfortunately, I don't think comedy is his forte.  He seems forced here and is actually just not very funny, even when subjected to some cringe worthy scatological scenarios, one of which has Ned trying to cope with a paperless Japanese toilet.

Despite my not being able to cope with her voice, Mullally is an excellent comedienne and provides much of the humor in this film.  She is expert at under-her-breath, throwaway lines, so listen for those, and she has some of the best lines.

Directed by John Hamburg and written by him with Ian Helfer (Jonah Hill is credited for having something to do with the story too), this is the story of an uptight Midwest conservative learning from a spaced-out West Coast millennial, which could have been rich fodder for some fun, but doesn't hit the mark. It's even got a bit of a metaphor, though it falls into overly sentimental territory: Ned runs a printing company in a world that is becoming increasingly paperless.  I get it. The lack of understanding between the older generation (paper) and millennials (paperless), right?  

For the first hour, this film was mildly amusing as we got to know Laird and could see the steam coming out of Ned's ears, but then I got bored waiting for this thing to resolve itself.   This plot - daughter brings unsuitable suitor to meet the parents - has been done to death and didn't bring anything new to it.

You know you are in trouble when Kiss and a Japanese toilet play a major role in a film.

Rosy the Reviewer says...not why him?  Why ME?

Shut In (2016)

A widowed mother and her disabled stepson live an isolated existence  with a storm coming in this thriller where some strange and scary things start to happen.

Naomi Watts stars as Mary, a child psychologist with a very difficult stepson, Steven (Charlie Heaton) and difficult issues of her own.  Steven has just unwillingly gone off with his Dad to boarding school while she stays behind. En route there is a car accident.

Flash forward six months later...

Lifetime movie cliche anyone?  (for more information on Lifetime Movie cliches, see my blog post "Lifetime Movies: A Baby Boomer's Appreciation"), and that flash forward is not the only Lifetime movie device you will encounter in this film.

Anyway, Mary's husband has been killed in the car accident, and now the stepson is living alone with Mary.  Unfortunately he was badly injured in the car accident, and he is a paraplegic with brain damage.

Mary is informed that one of her patients, a little boy named Tom (Jacob Tremblay), who is hearing impaired, is going to be transferred to another school in Boston. Mary is not happy about that, but there is nothing she can do. Later, Mary hears glass shattering and her car alarm going off. Naturally she goes outside in THE DARK all by herself or this wouldn't be a classic thriller about a woman living one her own with a disabled son who would be no help to her should something bad happen.  

Entering the garage, Mary finds one of her car windows smashed in and Tom, that little hearing-impaired boy I mentioned earlier, fast asleep on the backseat. She brings him inside, but after discussing him on the phone inside her office, when she returns, she finds her front door standing open and Tom is nowhere to be found. Mary informs the police and they search for Tom while Mary continues to hear sounds in the night and to experience strange, dream-like horrors.

What the hell is happening?

This genre - a woman all alone plagued by things that go bump in the night -  always has certain criteria.  Glad you asked.  Let me share those with you:

The Top 20

#1 - An idyllic but very remote location.  What could possibly happen in a beautiful place like this?

#2 - The woman is alone or with someone who can't really help her, in this case the only other person with her is her stepson who is a paraplegic.

#3 - Next, expect the unexpected - it's always the least likely person or our heroine does something least likely.  Just think least likely. 

#4 - Our heroine has to be troubled - in this case, she is having problems dealing with her stepson and actually dreams of drowning him.  She is also an insomniac which calls everything she sees into question.

#5 - The woman goes out into the dark alone to investigate a noise and opens up the gate thus possibly allowing bad guys to get in.  And right here, I have to say, I shouted at the screen (I am prone to that kind of thing when I get frustrated), WHY???  What woman in her right mind would hear a noise out there in the dark and go out by herself to investigate - without a gun?

#6 -  A black cat jumps out making us all jump and then we and our heroine breathe a sign of relief thinking that it was only the cat that made the noise.  If only.

#7 - A knock on the door.  DO NOT ANSWER THE DOOR! (I am shouting at the screen again)

#8 - Another strange sound and she goes outside AGAIN, this time leaving the front door open, forcing you to scream "WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WOMAN?!"

#9 - A nightmare scene occurs, so now we are questioning truth vs. reality.  Is Mary imagining all of this?

#10 - I am now reminded that next time I am home alone at night I am going to be terrified.

#11 - Oh, geez, now she is going down into a dark basement by herself!

#12 - A dark figure runs across the screen behind her.  SHE IS NOT ALONE!

#13 -  Many gotcha moments that make you jump, most of which turn out to be nothing, thus letting your guard down so when the big payoff comes you really jump out of your seat.

#14 - A reminder that all bad things happen at 2am (my mother warned me about that).

#15 - There is a warning that a big storm is coming.  Of course there is.  And the power could go off. And of course it does because in movies like this the lights always go off so that our heroine can go down in dark basements by herself like an idiot.

#16 - Phone goes dead. Of course.

#17 - Cat and mouse game begins.

#18 - Friend who comes to check on our heroine gets killed.

#19 -  Big twist.  Things are not as they appear - and it all goes crazy.

#20 - Our heroine stops being a victim and goes ballistic.

There you have it.  Any questions? 

Directed by Farren Blackburn with a screenplay by Christina Hodson, this film asks the question: who is really the shut in here?  It also asks, just how many movies exactly like this have you already seen?

Rosy the Reviewer says...a psychological thriller that checks all of the above boxes and, despite the usual good performance by Watts, prompts me to ask:  Why?  You've probably seen this film already a million times on Lifetime.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

201 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

The House is Black (1964)

A short documentary about a leper colony in northern Iran.

Written and directed by Forugh Farrokhzad, this 22 minute black and white short combats the "ugliness" of lepers in a leper colony by using poetry, religion and gratitude, challenges you to see beauty in creation.  The film was meant to shed light on leprosy so that something could be done about it.

The film starts with a black screen and a narrator warning about the images to follow. It makes the case that leprosy is a disease of the poor and with proper care and medical treatment it can be cured.  However, the way that people with leprosy were treated was to segregate them and neglect them in leper colonies.

People in the leper colony are seen eating, having medical treatments, in class and going about their daily lives.  There are children playing but also people with rotting flesh and parts of their faces and bodies eaten away. The images are sometimes difficult to look at.

All of the images are accompanied by narration by Farrokhzad of her own poetry and religious readings and begs the question:  Is there still beauty in creation when the creation isn't beautiful? Can beauty be found in ugliness?  Despite deformities, can one still be grateful for what one does have? 

It was the only film directed by Farrokhzad before her death in 1967.  During shooting she became attached to a child of two lepers, whom she later adopted.  The film received little attention outside of Iran but has since been recognized as a landmark in Iranian film and helped to pave the way for the Iranian New Wave of filmmakers.

I think this film would have been more meaningful having done a little research beforehand.  Seeing the film cold, it was difficult to see the point but understanding why the film was made and something about the filmmaker makes the film more potent.

Why it's a Must See: "At once lyrical and extremely matter-of-fact, devoid of sentimentality or voyeurism yet profoundly humanist [this film] offers a view of life in the colony...that is spiritual, unflinching, and beautiful in ways that have no apparent Western counterparts; it registers like a prayer."
--"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die."

Rosy the Reviewer says...a grotesquely beautiful film, but certainly not for everyone.
(b & w, in Persian with English subtitles)

***Book of the Week***

My Mother's Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and the Meaning of Life by Peter Gethers (2017)

Nothing like a son writing admiringly about his mother.

Peter Gethers is an author, screenwriter, playwright, book editor and film and television producer.  His mother, Judy Gethers, was the daughter of the founder of Ratner's restaurant, a legendary Jewish kosher dairy restaurant on New York City's lower East Side. She herself became a legendary figure in the L.A. cooking scene, when, at the age of 53, she took her first job, working with Wolfgang Puck at Ma Maison, running and teaching at its cooking school with Julia Child, Maida Heatter and Paula Wolfert.  She was known as the "Ma of Ma Maison."  Later she followed Puck when he opened Spago and wrote several cookbooks.

Judy faced several health challenges over her lifetime, but when she suffered a stroke in her 80's, she was robbed of her ability to cook, but through regular visits with her son, Peter, she and he talked about food and her life which culminated in this book.  Through their visits, Peter learned about his mother's favorite dishes, and though he did not consider himself much of a cook, Peter decided to honor his mother by preparing her breakfast, lunch and dinner, each consisting of her favorite dishes - and in so doing mother and son drew closer.

The menus?


  • Ratner's Matzo Brei
  • The Beverly Hilton Coffee Shop's and the Cock'n Bull's Eggs Benedict.


  • Barbara Apisson's Celeriac Remoulade
  • Louise Trotty's Chocolate Puddy
  • Joel Robuchon's Mashed Potatoes
  • Yotam Ottolenghi's Quail


  • Before-Dinner Drink: Peter Kortner's and The Martini Brothers' Perfect Martini
  • Wolfgang Puck's Salmon Caulibiac
  • The Tornabenes' Buccatini with Cauliflower, Pine Nuts, Currants, Anchovies and Saffron
  • Solferino's Steak with Truffle Cream Sauce
  • My Almost-Made-Up Fava Bean Puree
  • Nancy Silverton's and Abby Levine's French Boule and Challah
  • Romanee-Conti's Greatest Red Wine: La Tache
  • Smoothest White Wine There Is: Batard-Montrachet
  • Burgundian Store-Bought Cheese: Epaisses
  • Martha Stewart's Tarte Tatin

Quite a daunting set of menus for someone who can't cook! 

But therein lies the humor...and the love that exudes from this book. And yes, there are recipes as well as stories about the people, food and drink mentioned in the menus, as well as tales about his family and his growing up years all interwoven throughout the book as he goes on a quest to prepare these special meals for his mother. 

For each meal, Gethers shares the menu and then gives often very funny accounts of trying to find the right ingredients, the proper tools and then trying to prepare the meal exactly as it is supposed to be prepared as per his mother.  It is funny and very touching to envision this grown son wanting to do something like this for his mother.  We mothers can only hope our own sons would care as much.

Gethers also shares what he learned about himself:

"Here's what I learned from cooking with my mother and talking to her and absorbing her wisdom.  Here is what I learned in my search to find meaning in my mother's kitchen: Food is not a be-all and end-all.  It does not provide meaning, though it does provide pleasure.  Nothing that provides pleasure can do so in a vacuum.  It is sharing our pleasure that provides real pleasure.      Love can fade.  Families can break apart.  Nothing you do in the kitchen can really alter that.  But love can also last...And food can be used to celebrate and cement love and family, strength and comfort.  It did for my mother.  It does for me now."

Gethers' recollections of his mother who he clearly admired and loved, and his attempts to get the food just right for her was all very touching.  I cried.

Food is love.  Preparing a meal for someone is an act that shows that love. I have a similar story in my own life, though the cuisine is hardly as fancy. My Dad was an only child and his parents - my grandparents - lived across the street from us.  As they aged (my grandmother was blind), my Dad would stop by their house on his way home from work and prepare their dinner. I wish now that I had spoken more to him about that, what he prepared and how he felt about it.

This book is very much a literary version of one of my favorite documentaries, "Nothing Left Unsaid," where Anderson Cooper talks with his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, about her life, to really try to know and understand her so that when she is no longer around, there is nothing he will regret, nothing left unsaid.

Rosy the Reviewer inspiring book about food and love and a reminder to make the most of our time with our parents.  NOW GO CALL YOUR MOTHER!  Or better yet, prepare her a favorite meal.

Thanks for reading!


See you next Friday 

for my review of

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"


The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 

 I Die Project." 

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

From Finicky to Foodie and Back Again: Confessions of a Baby Boomer and What She Ate

Look at her.

She looks like such a nice, dutiful little girl with her neatly folded hands and her little braids with the bows and her crooked bangs (cut by her father), but, don't let that fool you.  That little girl was a very finicky little girl when it came to food and could case major scenes if forced to eat something that "looked funny."

She wasn't just finicky.  She was VERY finicky.

As the audience used to ask in unison on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" when he made a pronouncement like that: 

"How finicky was she?"

And like Johnny Carson, I will reply:

  • She was so finicky that she wouldn't eat steak because she had to chew it too many times
  • She was so finicky that she wouldn't eat spaghetti sauce on her spaghetti, just melted butter
  • She was so finicky that when she went to camp she worried more about the fact that she would have to try at least one bite of what was served than that she couldn't swim and might possibly drown
  • She was so finicky that her salad was plain iceberg lettuce
  • She was so finicky that she wanted her peanut butter toast cut into "fairy cakes" (I think the Brits call them "soldiers")
  • She was so finicky that she cried if cooked carrots were anywhere in her vicinity

You get the idea.  She was really, really finicky.  And as I sit here sipping my glass of gruner veltliner and nibbling on a little piece of taleggio and a baguette, with some baby gherkins and fig jam on the side, I can confess that little girl was yours truly.

So what happened?  How did that little finicky little girl turn into a foodie who thinks nothing of crunching away on squid tentacles or relishing a nice bowl of pho with beef tendon?

I tackled some of my childhood finicky food preferences back in 2013 with "A Baby Boomer's Food Memories," where I shared some of my mother's recipes too, so I won't repeat myself here, though I will remind you just how finicky I was. 

I don't know how it happened but I did not trust food.  Or maybe it was my mother.  She liked to make casseroles and those are anathema to someone with food fears.  When I would ask her what was in it she would say, "Oh, butter and flour and meat and other good things."  I was suspicious that she would sneak something I didn't like into it, to say the least (which she often did), so I just said, "I'll have a tuna sandwich."  And when I say tuna sandwich, I am not talking about tuna SALAD.  Oh, no...that would include onions and mayonnaise (I only ate Miracle Whip in those days) and, horror of horrors, possibly mustard.  No, my tuna sandwich was plain albacore tuna laid out on bread that had been spread lightly with Miracle Whip.  Or if my mother was feeling particularly motherly, she would serve it to me on toast that was buttered on both sides.  Yum.

So besides tuna sandwiches, what else would I eat?

  • Cottage cheese (I liked to stir a little milk into it to make it more like soup)
  • Kraft dinner with pieces of bacon mixed into it (most people call this Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but we always called it Kraft dinner - I guess because it WAS dinner)
  • Soft-boiled eggs with a dollop of butter 
  • Peanut butter on toast
  • Campbell's Cream of Tomato soup (made with milk, not water, and sometimes my mother would float pieces of peanut butter toast in the soup - I know it sounds weird but it's actually delicious.  Peanut butter is one of those things that goes with everything! See there was a bit of the foodie already starting to creep out though I can't quite explain why tomato soup was OK but tomato sauce on my spaghetti was not)
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Fish sticks
  • Hamburger with just ketchup
  • Likewise hotdog with just ketchup (I abhorred yellow mustard and actually still do - if I was presented with a sandwich with mustard on it I would go hungry rather than eat it because once that yellow goop gets on the bread, there is no getting it off no matter what you do!)
  • Potatoes in any incarnation
  • Chicken and turkey (but only the dark meat)
  • Jello and anything sweet (but no coconut)
  • TV dinners if the vegetable was corn.

(Speaking of TV dinners, I don't think anyone these days realizes what a big deal TV dinners were when they were invented back in the 50's.  I think my mother must have died and gone to heaven, even though she was a really good cook and cooked most things from scratch.  But when you have a finicky kid like I was, she just had to put one of those babies in the oven, then set it on the TV tray and put me in front of the TV and she was done.  Yes, we had TV trays).

So growing up, that was about the extent of my food repertoire.

And, yes.  If I didn't like what my mother made for dinner, she would fix me something different, one of my acceptable foods.

Now I can just hear you parents out there thinking what a spoiled child I must have been and you certainly wouldn't do that for your child.  My mother would prepare the meal for the family, and then if I objected to the menu, make something special for me.  I probably was spoiled in many ways, but I don't think that is one of them.  My experience has been that most parents force their children to at least try the food that is put in front of them, that they eat what the rest of the family eats or go without.  Some parents even make their kids sit at the table until they eat what is put before them even if it takes hours.  And if that is what you believe is the best way to raise your child, then that is your right, but I am also going to say that it is also the quickest way to create food issues for your children. 

I applaud my mother for not making a big deal about food and what I ate.

The way I see it is, the best way to create an aversion to certain foods, or saddle your children with food issues, is to make them eat what they don't want to eat. You have no idea what a casserole looks like to a little kid. Certain foods would literally make me gag and that was not creating a very relaxing dinner table.

Yes, I was a finicky little girl and my mother catered to me, but I grew up to be a woman who has no food issues and eats just about everything.  I was never a model, but I was in the normal body weight range for most of my life (and if you want to know why I am now no longer in the normal range, read my post "My Menopause")!  But I digress.

Though I didn't appreciate it at the time, I believe the fact that my mother catered to me in that way also made me feel very loved and looked after, which in turn led to the confidence I would need to go out and make my own way in the world.  And looking back, being a mother myself, I know she didn't mind doing it, because she was able to show her love.  My mother was not a particularly outwardly affectionate woman, but she showed her love in ways like that.

So how did that little girl who cried if there was mustard on her sandwich or considered iceberg lettuce "eating her vegetables" turn into a foodie?

After years of spending massive amounts of time trying to avoid most foods and causing a scene while I was doing it, I had an epiphany my senior year in college.  I realized my finickyness was affecting my life.  I mean, it is a bit embarrassing to ask at a Thai restaurant if I could have a cheese sandwich.  

But I do have to give myself a bit of slack.  It's not all my fault.  I didn't exactly come from a foodie background.  I grew up in the Midwest and a town that would hardly be called a fine dining town.  Howard Johnsons was my parents idea of fine dining and even then we were not allowed to order anything special to drink or dessert, because that was extra and my Dad only wanted to pay for the entrees.  He would have a heart attack if he knew what we pay for wine these days when we dine out.  Sometimes the wine is a bigger part of the bill than the food!  It was also not a town with a lot of diversity in the food options nor were my parents very adventurous. Let me just say that my mother once told me she had tried "Thigh" food.  I think she was almost 80 at the time.  I didn't have the heart to correct her pronunciation.

So when I moved to San Francisco after college, I vowed that I would no longer be finicky but rather I would eat EVERYTHING. 

Though San Francisco is a town renowned for its food, when I lived there I was, shall we say, a bit cash deficient and thus not really able to avail myself of all of the fine dining the town had to offer. But I was still able to hone my love of Chinese food in that City's famous Chinatown, eat Chicken Kiev at a local Russian mom and pop, try kimchi in Korea Town and expand my hamburger orders to include onions and tomatoes.  I was getting there.

Then when I moved to the Monterey Bay Area where I was married and raised my family, it was all about seafood - sand dabs, abalone, sushi and calamari were favorites. 

But it wasn't until I moved to Seattle over ten years ago, that I became a real foodie.

Seattle is the premiere food capital of the Pacific Northwest (sorry, Portland), and I embraced it with a passion. 

I discovered that I loved not only eating food, but reading about the restaurants serving the food and the "celebrity chefs' who were making it.  The city was awash in new restaurants, and I read every review and attempted to go to every restaurant.  I even made a list of the best restaurants A-Z and started my quest to sample them all in order.  (However, by the time I got to the "F's," I realized that more and more new restaurants were opening with names that began with letters before "F," so I changed my strategy to restaurants by neighborhood).

Moving to Seattle, I became a fervent foodie (and if you want to know which restaurants are my favorites, you will have to check back on this blog) and embraced all things foodie with a passion!

I also threw myself into food-oriented TV programs. I am an avid viewer of "Top Chef" and have also watched all of Gordon Ramsay's TV shows from "Hell's Kitchen" to "Master Chef.  I read Marco Pierre White's memoir (he was the first enfant terrible of the kitchen), as well as all of Tony Bourdain's books (I watch all of his TV shows too).  I even paid extra for the VIP tickets so I could meet Tony when he did a show here in Seattle (he was very nice).

I "starred" on an episode of "Check Please," a PBS program that plays in several cities across the country.  The Chicago version can even claim a young Senator named Barack Obama (check You Tube). The gist of the show is that you and two others choose your favorite restaurant. Everyone goes to each other's restaurant choice, and then we get together with the host of the program to be filmed as we talk about our experiences.

(Here it is if you care to watch it).

And there I was expounding about food. And watching myself, realizing I was doing it insufferably so.

So as with most passions, it is easy to overdo it.

The finicky little girl who only liked her spaghetti with butter on it, had turned into a true foodie who could rave about her calamari steak, but as you can see, she had also turned into a huge, insufferable food snob!  I mean I am even saying on the show in front of millions of people that I don't like to dine in a restaurant with children!

If I were to revise that list of how finicky I was when I was a little girl to a list of how finicky I am today, it would look  something like this:

  • I am so finicky that I send my steak back if it's not perfectly medium rare (even though I know I risk the chef spitting on my food)
  • I am so finicky that if I want pasta, I don't even eat spaghetti anymore - more like lobster ravioli or braised monk fish on a bed of spiralized zucchini
  • I am so finicky that when I am at a high end restaurant I am disappointed if they don't give me an amuse bouche
  • I am so finicky that I won't order wine if the restaurant doesn't have a nice Oregon Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc
  • I am so finicky that haven't set foot in a Denny's in over 10 years
  • I am so finicky that I refuse to be seated in a restaurant near the door, bathrooms or kitchen
  • And I could go on, but I won't

And I am not proud of all of that. 

I have also turned into a person who chefs don't even like.

I read an article recently where Seattle chefs shared food terms that are overused and they hate to hear:

"Foodie" is right up there but how about these?

  • Veggie
  • Like butta
  • Sando (for sandwich)
  • Food porn
  • Foodgasm
  • Yummy
  • "Chef" as a verb (as in "cheffing)
  • Ethnic food (as in throwing all food that isn't European into that category)
  • Umami (using that to describe any flavor your don't understand)
  • Sexy
  • Mouthfeel

There's more, but I will let you read the article for yourself. 

My point here is that I have used over half of those words myself and finding out that, if a famous chef heard me say any of those words to describe the food I was eating, he or she would describe me as an idiot, has made me rethink this whole foodie thing, er, I mean this thing about food snobbism.

I may eat everything and actually savor all kinds of great food that I would never have touched as a child, I may love to read restaurant reviews and talk about my dining experiences, I may know what buerre blanc and veloute are, but in so doing, I have gone in the other direction and my newfound passion has turned me into a finicky snob about food. 

I have reverted back to that finicky little girl.

However, there is hope.

The difference between me now and that little finicky girl who expected her mother to cater to her finicky nature is that the adult Rosy realizes she can be a pain in the butt about her passion for fine dining, so from this day forward I vow to continue to enjoy good food, dine in fine restaurants and review them (watch for the occasional restaurant review in my Friday "Week in Reviews" posts), but I am going to watch my language and stop showing off. 

I may know all about galettes, aguilettes and semi freddo, but I don't need to be snooty about it.  I don't want to be that kind of person. You know the type.. describing her meal and acting all shocked and snobby that you didn't know what she was talking about ("You don't know what bucatini is?  Well, bless your little heart!") or telling her that you are not a big fan of chicken feet and her looking all sorry for you, not to mention your nodding off because she was boring you to death. 

No, I don't want to be that person. I certainly don't want to shame people about their food preferences, just as I wouldn't have liked it very much if people had made fun of me when I was young because I had never tried pizza (it looked funny).  Well, they did, but I got over it. 

Food is like art.  It's a matter of taste.

So for those of you out there who consider yourselves food experts, or god forbid, foodies, this is a cautionary tale.  Realize that not everyone knows what rillettes are, and more importantly, not everyone even cares. Gauge your audience, realize everyone is not as gung ho about food as you and stop showing off. No matter how passionate you might be about something, nobody likes a show off, even when it comes to food! 

And, finally, there is a little irony in all of this. 

Despite my food snobbism, in weak moments or when I am depressed or late at night when no one is looking, I revert to my childhood.  That finicky little girl who didn't like much in the way of food, whose mother catered to her, is still in there.  When I am craving something to eat, I don't whip up a cheese soufflé or a fancy omelet or potatoes lyonnaise. OK, sorry, a fancy potato dish.  

No, in those quiet, soulful moments, there is nothing like a piece of toast with peanut butter on it (cut into "fairy cakes, of course) to dip into some cream of tomato soup or a soft-boiled egg mashed up with a dollop of butter or a toasted tuna sandwich buttered on both sides to make me feel better.

Those comfort foods from my past take me back to that finicky little girl back home again being cared for by her mother. 

And nothing served to me in even the best restaurants in the world can compare to that.


That's it for this week!

Thanks for reading!


See you Friday 

for my review of


  The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before  

 I Die Project." 


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Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Once there, click on the link that says "Explore More" on the right side of the screen.  Scroll down to External Reviews and when you get to that page, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.

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