You could be three Warsteiners in and the carpet would still reek of the spoiled melted butter. Film and Food and Film of Food junkies alike hunker down and dip their breadsticks into tiny paper cups of melted Jarlsberg cheese that sinks in the stomach like cement. Brewing companies have set fort; handing out bottles of beer to those already double-fisting cups of the sustainable Frei Brothers Wine or plates of PB&J Lollipops in the ways of David Burke Kitchen: peanut butter stuffed bacon, served on a skewer with a fried grape. Meanwhile, Alobar presents a savory and sweet pork and quail egg crostini; stunningly tender maple-cured pork over ricotta, topped with a freshly fried quail egg that still runs while Jimmy’s No. 43 samples their winter entrée of curry beef and sweet potato, turning comfort food on its spiked heels.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Food Film Festival of New York City, and it is the epitome of ‘beyond all reasonable perfection’. Tisch Senior agrees. ‘It’s pretty epic,’ she nods, taking in the incoming wave of film foodies, ‘This is the most and the greatest food I’ve ever had in the city, like Downstein on a sugar high, except not at all.’
Whoever thought that eating the food you’re watching on a fifty-foot screen would deteriorate the absolute threshold of being absolutely mesmerized must’ve really been onto something. The festival celebrates food film, which congregates film and food artists alike to fetishize the mouthwatering and inspiring artisanship that is all things to be eaten. This past Thursday, the AMC Village 7 housed the Food Film Festival’s Farm to Film to Table: Meat your Butcher, one of six events throughout the festival’s five-day run. Meat Your Butcher showcased sustainable meat butchering, with the world premiere of Meat Hooked!, a feature documentary by Suzanne Wasserman depicting the rise and fall and rise again of New York butchery.
Before the screenings, moviegoers are handed out amuse-bouches of the food being showcased on screen. Prior to Meat Your butcher, there was the short documentary Farm to Table, showcasing George Weld’s significant Williamsburg eatery, Egg, and how most of its food is produced on its own farm, outside of the city. Filmgoers were delighted with pickled treats from the farm; crisp, earthy, and defying the relative awareness of perceived reality altogether.
After viewing the delightful Farmer Poet, another short, festival staff return to distribute white paper bags filled with bacon popcorn. It’s caramel corn for hedonists: sweet bacon and salty popcorn, fingers succumbing to the most amount of sucking they’ve had to deal with in ages. From there on in, it’s Meat the Butcher; and while it showcased the gorgeous talents of Dickson’s Farm Stand Meats and Fleishers (who happened to provide the most mouthwatering slices of salami, ever), it was Jeffrey Ruhalter’s story that was most captivating. ‘I am just a butcher’, the original butcher of Essex Street Market says, ‘but what I can give…’. He stops for a moment. It’s evident that butchery is his calling, and it becomes recognizable that the same is with all chefs in the festival after the screening; it is an art that demands to be shared and recognized as an absolute, tangible need.