The Martian starring Matt Damon. A look at the movie and the book

food-n-flix-march-2017  A couple of years ago I read The Martian by Andy Weir.  My review (if you’d like to revisit it) is HERE.  Loved the book and will probably reread it again one day.

Well, as I was surfing around a few days ago I came across the movie being featured at Food ‘n Flix.  I knew I wanted to participate as that is one great movie.  Have you seen it?  So entertaining.

I must confess to liking the book a little bit more but the movie pretty much followed with the exception of the ending.  I wish they had spent more time with Watney traversing the craters, trying to get to his destination.  Also, the interactions with the crew were so much more detailed.

crew

But – I am not dissing this movie!  It was phenomenal.  Matt Damon was a perfect fit for the character Mark Watney and he played that role so well. Ridley Scott as director insured it would be a blockbuster.

After being left for dead Watney, being an engineer and scientist, looked at his situation pragmatically but also with humor.  I liked that – facing an almost certain death on Mars yet his smart ass personality still shines.

Watney:   “Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” if I were the only remaining person.”
What do you know? I’m in command

Once NASA realizes he is alive they worry about his physical and mental well-being as they have no way to contact him.

He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.

And then you see what is going on with Watney:
LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 “How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”

watney

I can’t wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!

You have science, you have humor, compassion as well as respect for what he is dealing with in a way most people just couldn’t handle.  I would curl in a ball, rocking and hoping death wouldn’t be painful.  But I am not a botanist, an engineer or a NASA qualified astronaut.  Someone intelligent enough to break down a problem and , in Mark’s words, Science the shit out it!

This movie is an excellent choice for a Food ‘n Flix feature.  You may not think there is much in the way of food, except the potatoes of course.  But with the space packaged foods and the Thanksgiving feast included you will hear mentions of Beef Stroganoff, spaghetti, sweet and sour chicken and stew.  Ketchup is mentioned quite a bit too 🙂

On those lines I wanted to make something with a tomato base but not a spaghetti dish.  I’ve had lots of pasta on our menus lately.  Eggplant Parmesan was the dish I decided upon.  It uses a tomato based sauce so, that’s what I brought to the party.


(Recipe at the end)

I am going to try and link this to a new Facebook page I created. New to that business, so we will see, LOL 😬

This month’s hostess at Food ‘n Flix is Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm. Her announcement post is HERE.  Join in if you’d like to watch the movie and conjure up an inspired meal.

Also linking up with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.

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Eggplant Parmesan
Grab the following………..

2 eggplants (aubergines)
Salt
Olive oil
Panko breadcrumbs
A beaten Egg and a little bit of milk
2 ½ cups homemade tomato sauce, lots of herbs included
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Skin and slice the eggplants, about 1/4 inch slices. Place them in a collander, salt them, place more layers, salt them. Sit 30 minutes.

Rinse the slices, bread them with Lanka and fry them in oil for just a bit. Now layer your tomato sauce, eggplant slices, cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

French Toast by Harriet Welty Rochefort

frenchA fun read if you are a bit of a Francophile. This is a lighthearted easy read with insightful information on what’s it like to be an American married to a Parisian, living in Paris.

The author, Harriet Welty Rochefort, had an adventurous spirit since she was a child. An early influence was her step grandmother who was a professor of French at Grinell College in Iowa. Growing up in a farming community in SW Iowa was about as far from France or anything exotic that she could think of. After college she traveled extensively taking in the sights and different cultures of South America, Acapulco, the Canary Islands and finally landed in France.

One of the things I liked was her descriptive scenes and views on childrearing, education, food, manners, shopping expediations and the instances when her “Americanness” butted proverbial heads with the Parisian attitudes.

Several of the beginning chapters are devoted to food and wine…of course!

From the book:
“Catching on to French food was both easy and complicated….I have a hard time trying to think of what to serve for two full-scale four-to-five course meals a day, seven days a week. My French sister-in-law doesn’t seem to have this problem. In the family country house, where there are always at least ten people at the table, I watch with wonder as she casually composes each meal.

frenchtoast

An example might be pate to start with, then magret de Canard (breast of duck) cut into little fillets. This is accompanied by fresh peas, new potatoes and followed by a green salad with delicious homemade vinaigrette and finally a big plate of wonderful cheese. Brie, Camenbert, a chevre, a blue and d’Auvergue. This is followed by ice cream, cake or fruit, depending on what went before.”

This is a Saturday noon meal. On Saturday night she makes another five course meal. Amazing.

Other food mentions though out include:

Asparagus with a sauce mousseline, a potato omelet, a beautiful lettuce salad, cheese, a tarte aux fraises (strawberry pie)

Rochefort potato omelet, marinated green, red and yellow peppers, salmon with dill, an aspic with foie gras and artichokes.

Gigot d’agneau (leg of lamb) with pommes sarladaies and tomatoes provencales, a cheese plate with eight different varieties, and finally a mousse au chocolat, a tarte aux myrtilles (blueberry pie) and Cream Caramel.

As for relationships she makes a good point about American couples living in France vs. a Franco-American couple (such as Harriet and her husband Phillippe).

“As far as I can see, American couples living in France have a very different perception …France is an interlude in their lives, but they retain their Americanness as a couple. They are a united front. The adjustments they make to the culture are ones they wish to make, not have to make. With a Franco-American couple there is a push and pull over language, schools and religion.”

I love the chapter about the tax man, also known as “the Big Bad Wolf” and the French attitude about money. Quite interesting.

For an inspired dish I would love to roast some lamb but my goodness, it’s so very hot here I can’t abide having the oven cranked up so long. I grabbed one of my favorite cookbooks, a Williams Sonoma Essentials of French Cooking, and decided upon zucchini fritters. Or as I would order them in France, Beignets de Courgette. Recipe may be found at Squirrel Head Manor. These were very good and will make again.

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I also tried the tarte aux fraises and will you ever howl when you see the photos. Not ready to upload those yet but….they are interesting 🙂

Harriett More about the author:

Harriet Rochefort
Harriet and Phillipe’s site

Adding my review to Goodreads and Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series. Also linking to the Reading Challenge What’s In a Name

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain


This is the third book I have read by Anthony Bourdain. Another Thumbs Up rating – he never disappoints. Bourdain goes off on rants about subjects close to his heart – obviously the food industry, covering everything from celebrity chefs, Food Network, traveling and people in general. You know, the idiotic things people do that have you just shaking your head.

One example – he is at a book signing for Medium Raw and fans of Kitchen Confidential (young fans I may add) drop off joints of marijuana or packets of coke, discreetly slipped into Bourdain’s belongings. Really? Common sense takes a day off.

He makes it clear the days of drug use and abuse are long in the past and it concerns him that some fans of Kitchen Confidential focus on the partying aspects.

Oh, and his diatribe on Alice Waters is priceless. The way he writes you can hear him speaking to you. Not the perfect sentence structure but ordinary conversational style writing.

The sections where he talks about his daughter, the chapter “I’m dancing”, clearly tells where his head is now. His priorities.

This is another honest memoir where he takes full responsibility for any past mistakes with alcohol, drugs, business dealings, etc. and moved on to a better life.

I loved this book.

There is just so much you could be inspired to make after reading one of Bourdain’s books so I offer you an appie. Camembert stuffed baked mushrooms over at Squirrel Head Manor.


Adding my review to Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.