Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday Food Film Fest

Make yourself a bowl of popcorn. Put your feet up and relax. No heavy lifting in the kitchen today. We're just going to sit back and take in a few flics.

Amazing, the stuff that's making the rounds on video these days, no? Take, for instance, this surreal orchestra from Austria, a symphony of vegetables, really. A trip to the local produce market, some quick work with an electrical drill, a saw, and--voila!--carrots, peppers, eggplants, all making music together.

Not merely entertaining, but completely mesmerizing. And wait! There's more. There's actually a vegetable orchestra Take 2. Be sure not to miss it. And thanks to Rob for tipping us off...


On a more sober note, John Bowe has written an eye-opener of a book--Nobodies--on the existence of a kind of slave labor in U.S. fruit and vegetable production. Workers who speak no English and are fearful of rocking the boat often live at the complete mercy of agricultural bosses and overlords. They languish in squalid camps with nowhere else to go. And Bowe shows just how critical they are to the food chain that includes Tropicana, Minute Maid, McDonald's and Taco Bell.

Can this really be happening here? Now? Should consumers feel the least bit concerned?

Bowe appeared recently on Comedy Central for an interview with John Stewart, and you can watch it all here at the Eating Liberally blog, where you can also read an excellent review of the book...


Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. In making the documentary King Corn, two guys set out to see where all that corn goes. Turns out, corn is in just about everything we eat. It's helping to make Americans fatter and fatter, and we subsidize the entire business with our tax dollars, helping to make bad food really affordable. But now we're turning it into fuel for automobiles, ratcheting up the price of everyone's grocery bill.

"We're not growing quality," grouses one corn farmer. "We're growing crap!" Like most farmers, he doesn't even eat his own crops.

You can watch the trailer, as well as five short but amusing clips from the film...


If you like watching things blow up, you'll love these films of Portland Gas & Electric actually dynamiting Marmot Dam on Oregon's Sandy River in order to make life livable for the local salmon. You'll see a power company executive actually push the plunger that ignites the explosion. The only thing missing is some reaction from the salmon...

Speaking of salmon, don't miss this funky aquarium scene where the fish are groovin' on hip-hop and flying to the moon...


Finally, someone had the genius idea to put a camera in the hands of actual school children and let them explain why we need to get junk food out of our schools. And just where did these kids get their film-making chops? Their stuff is most excellent.

They're joined by comedian Chevy Chase and Jared the "Subway guy" urging Congress to do something to improve school nutrition...

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