As you ought to know by now, possums, there will be no new episode of Top Chef tonight. Rather, there will be a "special" epic-dose of "Watch What Happens" featuring Raggaydy Andy's chest hair (or at least that's what he said on today's now-you-see-it-now-you-don't version of his blog) and umpteen chefs and confessions from all three seasons of Top Chef. In other words, refrying at its finest.
Another fan of frying and refrying is can-do-no-wrong Season 1 contestant and culinary producer Lee Anne Wong. Which is why weren't surprised to read in the New York Daily News that producers of No Reservations, the refried remake of German movie Mostly Martha, "called in 'Top Chef' Lee Anne Wong of the French Culinary Institute to give kiddie cooking lessons to Abigail Breslin for her role."
Naturally we're curious about the film, in which Catherine Zeta-Jones, that well-known lover of extremely well-aged beef, plays an angry and paradoxically frigid chef calmed down and pan-fired, as it were, by a tall blond Mormon with an epically dimpled chin and an unbespectacled and skinny Little Miss Sunshine. Unlike chefs such as Patricia Yeo, poster boy for authenticity, Ilan Hall, has proclaimed the kitchen scenes "pretty realistic."
The German original, though no masterpiece, wasn't just a vaguely, bravely dour and formulaic chick-flick for the heaving, ennobled, NPR-beating bosom of the art house crowd. Rather, it was European Union propaganda, a Brussels wet dream about how the authentic and passionate Italians can show uptight, repressed Germans that all Arbeit and no nookie makes Jürgen a very dull boy. It was a story about the triumph of Andrea Boccelli and sundried tomatoes, and why Tuscany is overrun with Beemers. It was a story about North and South, a trope going back at the very least to Goethe's "Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn," and which doesn't translate as well to America, unless you count the Reese Witherspoon vehicle Sweet Home Alabama.
Being shallow and reprehensible, however, we were most curious about, and indignant on behalf of, Oscar-nominated child actress Abigail Breslin. Whenever Renee Zellweger packs on the kilos and stones to play Bridget Jones, she gets praised to high anorexic heaven for looking so skinny after filming is over. However, we see no such praise of little Miss Breslin for dropping that Little Miss Sunshine potbelly and double chin. If Dakota Fanning had gained and lost weight for a role, we'd never hear the end of it. Where's the love for Abigail's lost love handles?