Food in Fiction

As many people know, fiction can heavily influence and inspire reality, whether people want to admit it or not. We might watch a really cool TV show and think “I want to be like them someday” or “I definitely don’t want to be like them.” We look at world-building and wonder at the tiny details needed to create such an interesting universe. Just little things that that make our universe more exciting. In fiction, food and cooking can be applied in the same way; looking at really good cooking and wanting to try that.

Today, I’m going to talk about some of my favourite fictional shows and movies about food.

Food Wars

Food wars is an anime about the most competitive and prestigious culinary school in Japan. Or in other words, my biggest dream ever. I watch the show, look at the animation, about how these kids dedicate their lives to cooking. I think, this should be me.

A steak rice bowl from the anime food wars

Without spoiling things, a main aspect of the anime is the fact that cooking is brutal. Kids get expelled for the tiniest things, including the smell of their shampoo, or cooking their ingredients a few seconds too long. And this is just a high school, so everyone is between the ages of 15-18. But cooking is their life. Every day is geared to them improving their skills and becoming the best chef they can be, but it is no secret that most of the kids won’t graduate from the school. Only the cream of the crop will be successful in the industry and this is the narrative the show tries to push.

Every time a student makes a dish, they explain it in depth, including the processes and the ingredients used. (It’s obvious this is done for the viewer; as sometimes the students would ask basic questions they would definitely know after years of top notch culinary education.) I like the way they break the methods down, though. Some of the recipe combinations the students cook are interesting, and aren’t something I would have thought to do myself.

A rainbow terrine from the anime food wars

Each character has a different skillset, and I really like how they’re explored in the show. While they’re pitted against each other, the show does a good job of explaining the strengths and weaknesses of each person.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I really like chocolate. This is a very important to know, because I rarely cook with it. I like Willy Wonka’s imaginative mind, as he comes up with interesting ways to revolutionise chocolate. The all edible chocolate room is a stroke of genius, and I often thought of ways to recreate that myself. On a much smaller scale, of course. The chewing gum meal and the lickable wallpaper are both inventions I don’t see myself enjoying but it reminds me to broaden my horizons.

The chocolate room from the movie charlie and the chocolate factory (remake)

It reminds me of my youth, and helps me to remember that interesting food isn’t always about haute cuisine. It’s also not just about being different for the sake of it. It’s about being creative and original, and fun most importantly.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

While the first one establishes the cloud that pumps out food, I much prefer the second movie. (Also the end of the first movie for reasons I’ll explain.)

Why?

The answer is very simple.

I love the sentience of the food. At the end of the first movie, the gummy bears, the pizza and the chickens all come alive to protect the food machine. It’s very funny but if you dig slightly deeper, it’s a bit scary. What would you do if lifesized gummy bears were trying to kill you? I thought about how scary it could be if it was a life action horror movie and then I regretted thinking that.

In the second movie, one of the main “enemies” is a cheeseburger with fries for leg and a lot of sesame seed eyes. Just your average culinary nightmare fodder, really. On the other hand, there were also really cute food animals. Such as the spring onion giraffes and the marshmallows.

I’m a pun lover so animal names such as “flamango, hippotatomus and mosqitoast” was bound to get me to watch the movie again.

Some of the food animals in the movie cloudy with a chance of meatballs 2

This is another movie that made me appreciate the creativity that goes into food. It’s less blatant than the other two examples but inspiration can really be found anywhere.

I speak more about my process here, with an example of how I apply my creativity to fine tune recipes.

Thanks for reading, have a lovely day.

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