The other night we rented Spanglish, a new movie out from Sony Pictures about a Chef and his family who hire a woman to be their housekeeper/nanny and she doesn’t speak English, la... la...la. What attracted us to the movie, besides Adam Sandler, who I just adore, was of course the fact that for an hour and a half we could be a voyeur into the life of a chef and his family.
Well….hmm… I guess we should have remembered that it’s a movie, not real life, because in real life, a guy running a kitchen in LA would totally know how to speak a bit of Spanish! The DVD jacket cover doesn’t really account for what the movie is about and admittedly I thought we were in for a cozy chic flick night. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet so I all I will say is I don’t really know anyone in the food world that lives this life, it is just not very realistic. I point this out only because non hospitality folks seem to have such an altered perception of what life being married to someone who spends their profession in a restaurant, whether you be a cook, bartender or server, entails and movies like this simply add to that misconception.
When someone finds out that my husband cooks for a living, I get two questions or comments almost religiously; “Wow, you are SO lucky, it must be great being married to a chef, I bet you eat so well!” To this statement I usually respond, after many years of training from my husband, “oh yes, well he’s not really the chef, he’s a cook and yes, it has really great moments but, no, he doesn’t really cook at home, busman’s holiday and all that and you know they work really hard, long hours”. But by this time their eyes are glazed over and they are imaging a delusional image of my world which has me eating fourteen course meals nightly, with candle light, and rare fine wines decanting in my 2500 square foot kitchen. Oh how reality would shock them. Then as if they’ve just processed the words from four minutes before they hit me with the “oh my! you cook for him? That must be SO scary, I could never cook for a chef, it would be such pressure and geez, and I don’t know what I would make.” To which again I say “yes, well, by the end of the night, he really doesn’t care much about the gourmet, he’s just hungry and wants to eat something already made for him, besides his mom’s tuna casserole is his favorite comfort food, he is really very easy to please”. However, I say this all too late, as they have created this fantasy life we lead in their minds and no honesty will derail that and I figure, hell, if it makes them happy to think this fantasy, go for it.
Admittedly, the movie has a couple of good cooking scenes and again I do realize that cooks are sexy and while I’ve never thought of Adam Sandler as a sexy guy, put an All-Clad non-stick pan in a man’s hand and ask him to flip an egg without breaking the yolk and well…I’m turned on. So I guess the woman that tells me I am so lucky is right, when I want foreplay I merely ask my husband to make me an egg sandwich and the rest is history, for those other suckers, they have to go to Tiffany and bring home a little blue box.
Over all, it was an amusing, if not a bit disturbing flick. Probably more so for those of us attached to the industry in some manner – see it you’ll understand why. My favorite part was the extras section on the DVD where you get to watch Thomas Keller teach Adam Sandler how to make the perfect late night sandwich, they even provide the recipe! Notice the huge band-aid on Thomas K’s finger, very funny to see that even the Greats get a burn or cut once in a while. So hey, we paid $4.95 to watch it at home on our couch, with our own oil popped popcorn ladden in real butter and a fine bottle of Central Valley wine, and it’s all good fun -- just don't ask if you can come stay at our beach house in Malibu next summer, we don't have one.