Eating has become more and more difficult in the 21st century. Food isn't always the wondrous, romantic thing depicted in most movies. Recently we have learned about MSG, GMOs, polyunsaturated fats, trans-fats and the presence of the horrid "high fructose corn syrup" in just about everything. (It's in bread. Bread!) Sales of organic foods have increased drastically, and everyone has become an ingredient-reader and an amateur foodie. Now multiply this by about fifteen and you've got Thanksgiving dinner. Who's a vegetarian? Who's a vegan? Who's on the Atkins diet? Does putting the stuffing inside the turkey actually make it poisonous? Were those slivered almonds made on machinery that also processed peanuts? Who's allergic? What's the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? To get yourself prepared, I've assembled a chronological list of food cautionary tales, or hard culinary lessons learned.
Soylent Green (1973)
Is there anyone out there who doesn't yet know the secret component of everyone's favorite future foodstuff? If not, watching this film, directed by Richard Fleischer, will make you want to read the ingredients more often.
The Phantom of Liberty (1974)
The key scene in Luis Bunuel's film takes place at a dinner party. Guests gather around the table, pull down their pants and sit on toilets. They talk, rifle through magazines and otherwise engage in casual conversation. One guest rises, politely excuses himself and shyly asks for the dining room. Once inside, he shuts the door and begins eating. That's really funny, and in the joke, Bunuel asks why we perform one bodily function with great dignity in public and another with shame in private. As humans, our beliefs and behavior are utterly arbitrary. Try not to think about that at the dinner table.