The Film: Roman de gare
I cannot in good conscious write about 25 French films without including the one that has stuck with me the most. There are others that I’m going to write about which I adore and love, but this film changed my idea of what film is. It would be wrong not to repeat myself. And so I have:
The first thing you need to know about Roman de gare is that it’s good. For 45 minutes of the movie, I wasn’t sure. At the end, I knew I liked it for everything it wasn’t. It reminded me of classic thriller films, which I love, but it also felt incredibly like a great airplane book. The second thing you need to know is my words here are chosen carefully, so as not to spoil even the faintest bit of story, tone, or plot. The third, in order to get the full effect of this film, watch it all the way through with a nice glass of wine and without interruption.
I can perfectly understand why this film is not for everyone. In some ways you have no chance of getting ahead of the story so if you’re patient, you will be rewarded. But this film doesn’t allow you to simply release your expectations and enjoy yourself, it’s too taught, you can’t see around the curves so don’t bother tilting your head. Already by mentioning this, your expectations have changed so I will refrain from further analysis. Roman de gare, French slang for a trashy novel one reads in a train or train station, similar to the English phrase airport novel, is just that. In all the right ways. Literary, layered, cerebral, satisfying, and even the unique sensation of being page-turning cinema.
The Food: Frenchifed Popcorn [from Chow.com]
I made a lot of popcorn last Christmas. White chocolate, seaweed, saffron, za’atar. Well, it’s coming back and it’s going theme. I found this herbe de provence popcorn and went with it. Total keeper. It’s warm, buttery taste is rich. Like eating a meal. And the herb laced crunch on this cold, snowy night is the perfect snack. Really, it couldn’t be more perfect than this.
I didn’t have herbes de Provence but I did have thyme, basil, rosemary, sage, and fennel. I also used crushed celery seed then added salt and added fresh ground black pepper. To make herbes de Provence:
Combine all herbs, mix well, and stre in a tightly-lidded jar.
3 Tablespoons dried marjoram
3 Tablespoons dried thyme
3 Tablespoons dried savory
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Store in a cool, dark place up to 4 months.
For the popcorn, feel free to experiment with ratios. There is no wrong combination here. All variations are welcome.
Melt, ever so gently, in a small saucepan:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, more if you like
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse while you make:
1 cup of popcorn kernels
Remove the garlic and pour butter over popcorn. Toss, then add:
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
ground black pepper and crushed celery seed to taste
Toss again and serve with a movie.