I love it when someone takes a sideways look at the cinema, and just when you thought films had been looked at from every angle conceivable, along comes a book that surprises me and makes me wonder if there is such a thing as fate after all.
I mean here comes the need for unusual presents and along comes Pulp Kitchen. "Recipes for the good, the bad and the ugly".
Pulp Kitchen by Feargus O' Sullivan is a book of hand picked list of recipes from some of the biggest films, here's one of the most interesting from each category:
Clemenza's Sicilian Meatballs from The Godfather; Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter; Blue Soup from Bridget Jones' Diary; Doe Schnitzels from The Sound of Music; Liver with Fava Beans and Chianti from Silence of the Lambs; Loaves and Fishes from Monty Python's the Life of Brian; Solyent Green Halva Macroon Squares from, well you know where; Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Gone With the Wind; Gourmet Doggie Chow from Showgirls; Chicory and Ham Gratin from Amélie; Spartan Black Soup from 300; Cranberry and Apple Pie from To Die For; Liquorice Toffee Apples from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves; Elk and Bean Stew from Brokeback Mountain; Whisky and Ginger Wicker Man from Wicker Man, and Salt-grilled Sea Bream with Wakame Salad from Audition.
It's not all about food though, there's some drink to be had too, Spiced Shire Ale from Lord of the Rings or the Vesper Lynd Martini from Casino Royale or Arctic Martini Granita from GoldenEye, or the California Dreamin' Cocktail from Boogie Nights.
You're getting the idea. There's a bunch of recipes from various genres of cinema, and not just the recipes either, with each film there's a rather amusing run down of the plot with a little analysis and review of the film and characters.
Here's a cool excerpt from the Silence of the Lambs write up:
"He has been leading her slowly to the harrowing conclusion that things are considerably worse than they imagined. Buffalo Bull is not merely a cold-hearted psychopath; he might even be - oh, horror! - a transvestite to boot. Knowing that nothing in America can be deemed sacred while there's a man in woman's undies on the loose, the FBI start a frantic scramble for the killer. But when Lecter scalps and disembowels his way out of prison armed only with a microscopic piece of tin, it's far from clear who is going to be for dinner next - Dr Chilton, Catherine Martin, Buffalo Bill, or Agent Starling herself.
True to form, Dr Lecter's pairing of liver, fava beans and Chianti is restrained and tasteful in everything except the origin of the ingredients. This recipe extends the classic Fegato alla Veneziana by adding beans and pancetta. Though the onions require slow cooking, it's otherwise an extremely simple dish to rustle up whenever you fancy having an old friend for dinner - and (I'm sorry, I can't resist) it won't cost you an arm and a leg, either."
There follows the exact recipe, so you see it's not all film references, and it's not all cooking instructions, instead it combines the two in interesting diatribes and discussions of the film which segway easily together.
However it's the recipes that are important, and these aren't just lip service recipes, jokes from the film they are supposed to represent, these really are actual recipes for making and enjoying.
I've tried a couple and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised...okay I have a confession to make, none of them were the food recipes! The Vesper Lynd Martini was really enjoyable, quite a few of them in fact!
I haven't yet had the guts to try the Gin and Lime flavoured Demon Bile from The Exorcist or the Bloody Popcorn from Scream, but I will.
For fans of film and food this book is rather good fun, film fans can enjoy the reviews and tongue in cheek discussions of the film and food and drink fans can enjoy some pretty cool recipes that go down superbly well when you have friends round.
I would have liked more recipes though, and a few more from iconic food moments in film. There were some that I felt were made for the novel to match the film, whereas others, like Silence of the Lambs, are actually in the film and a key moment.
Despite that there are some other well thought through additions to the book. There's a list of unusual ingredients and where you might get them, and a short list of Asian food shops around the UK.
Perhaps one of the best bits is the short list of food related film titles, such as The Texas Chainsaw Moussaka, Bap to the Future, Planet of the Grapes, Full Metal Jacket Potato, and To Grill a Mockingbird are just a few of the titles that raised a snigger.
It's a nice touch to the book, as is the cover which is made out as a DVD cover but filled with food references.
All in all it's a very different book and contains some fun recipes for both food and drink which are coupled with a short and well written review for the film each recipe is related to. Feargus O' Sullivan is a good writer and keeps the writing light and amusing throughout, running the reviews into the recipe well.
If you're looking for a cool book this Xmas for someone, this is the one, perfect for the film and food lovers.