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The Magic: Food + Foreign Film

Welcome to day 5457 of social distancing. No, I don’t know how many days it’s actually been. I’m barely aware of what day of the week we’re on. All I know is that we’ve been at this long enough that I am hoping to hear a cruise-director-like voice guide me through the next few hours. I don’t want to be a puddle of a person like I was this past Monday – when I wanted to both be with my husband and child, while simultaneously hiding in my daughter’s room in a fort.

In the words of the immortal Leonard Cohen, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light comes in”. The light did come in through my cracked psyche on Monday. Belting the Indigo Girls “Galileo”, I remembered something – the last time I felt like this. It was six years ago, and I was living with my one year old child and grandmother who’d recently been diagnosed with dementia. Working during the day, and then caring for two people who needed all of me, took all of me. You could say I was practicing social distancing before there was social distancing because there was just no time for a life outside of my work and home. If there was joy to be found there, then I had to create it. And what did I create, you may ask – International Movie Night!

Once a week, I would choose a country. Let’s say I chose France. Then, I would cook French food, buy french wine, and choose a French movie. For instance, eating Ratatouille, while watching Ratatouille, and drinking a Bordeaux. Since then, I’ve married an Italian who argues that only an American could dream up a themed dinner party for themselves. I’m taking it as a compliment.

Those “International Movie Nights” infused a really tough season with joy, and I’m betting it could do the same today – so I’m bringing them back. If you’d like to join me, I’ve jotted down some of my favorite combinations (in no particular order) –


Food: Indian Chickpea Curry with rice.
Drink: Chai Tea (homemade or pre-made)
Movie: The Hundred Foot Journey


Food: Pasta alla Norma
Drink: Aperol Spritz
Movie: Under the Tuscan Sun
Bonus: Alessandro’s Crostata


Food: Paella
Drink: Tinto de Verano
Movie: Volver


Food: Vegetable Fried Rice
Drink: Tsingtao Beer
Movie: Curse of the Golden Flower


Food: Udon Noodle Soup
Drink: Sake
Movie: Tokyo!

I’m kicking off our “International Movie Nights” with France, which today means a broccoli quiche, a glass of Cotes du Rhone, and Audrey Tautou as Amelie. I may even treat myself to a macaron.

If there’s joy to be found in these days, we must create it ourselves.

Until we meet again .. au revoir!


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