The Film: Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis [Welcome to the Sticks]
When heavy action and teary dramas don’t sit right. When romance and thrillers fail to please. Comedy is the best medicine.
This year there were comedies about death, r-rated box-office hits, family films, and an Adam Sandler movie — none of which go very far in the laughs department. But for those of us who want to laugh without being grossed out, depressed, or disturbed, there’s Welcome to the Sticks.
Though it takes place in France, the premise is very relatable and simple enough to just watch and enjoy. Yes, not a perfect movie. It’s predictable and it doesn’t always have the timing right but that doesn’t matter when you’re laughing out loud, when you’re going for a ride, when you’re enjoying yourself.
The film really makes use of the differences between city and country folk, and keeps the fish out of water aspect feeling fresh the whole way through. There’s a deeper layer that allows the story to focus on friendship and community but it never gets burdened by sentimentality. It is a comedy through and through. Welcome to the Sticks proves you don’t have to leave your own culture to find you’re in another world, and comedy is universal.
The Food: Radishes with butter [from Jacques Pepin]
The holidays come bearing gifts. Fruit cake, bon bons, cup cakes, quiche, turkey, mixed nuts, cocktails and sugar cookies. And you’re too busy buying presents, you don’t have time to make dinner. So you have some burgers, tacos, paninis, take-away, order-in, drive-through. Then the regret sets in.
So this is a simple snack. Or even with a cup of soup might make a light dinner. It’s not the ordinary fare, I understand. But sometimes it’s best to step away from the seven types of cookies and eight layer garlic bean dips and do something right for ourselves. Trust me, you’ll thank you later.
From Pepin: Cut a baguette into thin slices about 3/8 inch thick. Cover each slice lavishly with unsalted butter. Thinly slice several radishes horizontally (a vegetable peeler is good for this) and cover the butter with overlapping slices of radish. Sprinkle a little fleur de sel on top and enjoy with drinks.
Assemble with ratios to taste
Sea salt & black pepper
Celery seed, optional
Whole grain bread
Serve with a cup of soup or a slice of block cheese, Neufchâtel, or Laughing Cow