First, let me thank Laura for inviting me and the rest of the gals to guest blog at 11D. As Laura mentioned in my guest blogger profile I saw Food Inc. last week, and this Sunday I saw Pressure Cooker. The former details the food industry, while the latter portrays the life of high school students in North East Philadelphia who wish to pursue careers in the restaurant industry.
Excited to see Food Inc. I was somewhat disappointed, though I do recommend the film and in particular I like the social message it sends. Basically the film suggests that only a few industries own and operate most of the food we eat. Of course the film details the horrors of the meat industries, and touts the organic, local home grown movements. (Organic food now appears in Walmart. Who knew?) So too it highlights the decline in regulatory oversight. Anyone with an interest in food and the policies surrounding them is likely familiar with most to the content, especially if you've read any Michael Pollan (I'm reading Omnivore's Dilemma. Yawn, or is it just me?) or Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation–the writing is so poor I couldn't make it past the first 10 pages, but I will have to try again since I'm teaching a Food & Politics course). The film is somewhat choppy in places. A segment of the film gratuitously mentions Montsano and seed cleaning, yet no background is given on either topic. Despite the flaws I will probably show this film in my Food & Politics course, and I do like the social message "demand to know what's in your food and advocate for more regulation."
Pesto (aka spouse) and I saw Pressure Cooker on Sunday, which highlights the sad realities of urban education and poverty in North East Philly. While the cinematography is not terrific, the story line is uplifting. The film follows three high school seniors from Frankford and their quest to secure scholarships to attend some of the nation's top culinary institutes and/or colleges. Their teacher is a bad-ass with one liners you won't forget, "French fries and hamburgers, that's so ghetto." A self-proclaimed foodie who resides in NYC and is currently summering in Providence, RI we have access to excellent food. Many of these chefs hail from culinary schools like the Culinary Institute of America (NYC) and the Johnson & Wales' Culinary Arts Program (RI). Watching the students' progression as they learn to cook, and seeing them realize their dreams makes this a must see film.