Barbara: Before I announce the recipient of my honourary Academy Award, let me explain the whole Oscar “phenomenon” as it exists in my house. First of all, growing up with dreams of being a successful actor had the usual effect on me: yes, if you must know, I did indulge in imaginary Oscar acceptance speeches; yes, they were emotional and heartfelt thank-yous to my beloveds, and yes, oh yes, they far exceeded the 45-second time allotment. I have watched the Oscars every year for as many years as I can remember.
That said, I’m not actually much of an awards show watcher. I mean, there are so many: the Golden Globes, the Emmys, the SAG Awards, the Canadian Geminis, and on and on. It’s as if I have an ingrained limit and one show a year fills it to capacity. It’s kind of the same with sports. I almost never watch sports on TV, but when the Olympics are on, just try and interfere with my viewing pleasure.
Okay, so we’re clear on where I stand on awards shows in general and the Academy Awards show in specific. So it shouldn’t be a great leap for you to imagine the almost religious ceremony I build around watching the show. I like to stay home, en famille (where I won’t miss a thing), I watch the pre-show arrivals and mock the inane banter that comes from the mouths of the clearly nervous interviewers, I watch (or watched) the Barbara Walters special, and I only go to the washroom during commercial breaks. Years ago, I told my husband I would not be cooking on that night. Ever. My husband and I mostly share the cooking ritual here in a your-turn-my-turn kind of system. Well, it doesn’t matter if he cooked the night before, on awards night it is never, ever (did I say that already?) my turn. Hollye said it the other day: the Academy Awards is like my Super Bowl.
And Phil has gamely met my demands unflinchingly, year after year. So here’s where we get to my honourary award. There was a time when he simply prepared, you know, easy stuff like chicken wings or ribs. But then a few years ago he got it into his head that he was going to make a themed dinner (themed to the nominated movies, a menu found, I think, on Epicurious.com). Well, martinis were served with dainty hors d’oeuvres, plates were brought heaped with seared tenderloin and sautéed veggies and mushroom risotto, dessert was served with sparkling wine. It was a glorious feast. So glorious, in fact, that my daughters and I fairly swooned for the couple of hours it took to eat. We may even have glanced away from the ceremonies a few times to acknowledge his masterful meal.
And so, much to my husband’s chagrin, a ritual was born, one that would forever after scoff at plain old chicken wings and ribs. I’m not sure how thrilled Phil is that he has been swept up by our manic devotion to his culinary services, but he continues to step up and outdo himself. This year: French onion soup, and cassoulet with duck confit, both made from scratch (French theme in honour of Inception’s setting).
|Black and White Brownies courtesy of my Younger. Mmmm.|
Thanks, sweetie, the award definitely goes to you.
Deb: A well deserved award, Phil! Hope you didn’t burn your hand while cooking and drop the F-bomb like Melissa Leo!
And speaking of bombs, how about that hosting job last night? Wow. Reaching out to young people? Please! Young people are not idiots and are not going to tune in unless they want to. I love both Anne Hathaway and James Franco, but dear God they were miscast in those roles. At least she seemed to be trying and wore some great dresses.
Anyway, what a lovely tradition you have, Barb, with Phil at the kitchen helm. My husband has also done this for many years (but not last night as we had just flown in from Vancouver and went to an Oscar party). He has in the past themed a course for every movie. Now that it is ten movies, he will just have to pick the most inspirational I guess.
But his finest moment is the year he did: “BENJAMIN BUTTON Mushroom Soup”, followed by “SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE Mini Curry Burgers”, followed by “THE READER Potato Latkes”, followed by “MILK Fruit and Nuts Salad”, followed by “FROSTED NIXONS cake.” Great taste and good laughs with each course. What more could you want?
So, for best achievement in an Oscar-themed evening, the winners are Colin and Phil. I ate my chocolate Oscar, but still have the memories!