A Man For All Seasons is one of those oh-so serious dramas that make you feel good about yourself for watching. Because it’s like a big old history lesson. And being in history class. And watching history come alive. Sort of. The man for all seasons in question was Thomas More who battled with Henry VIII about Henry’s first divorce and loses his life for sticking to his convictions. It took four hundred years, but Thomas More was canonized by the Catholic Church: Thomas More is the patron saint of politicians. Scary thought that politicians have a patron saint. I guess they need one.
Thomas is played by the sensational Paul Scofield, who really gave one of the best performances I’ve seen in film. He’s riveting. Another true treasure of this film is Robert Shaw’s portrayal of Henry the VIII. Shaw nearly steals every scene he’s in (he should! he’s the king!). Unfortunately Paul Scofield does not make a lot of movies: the first movie I saw Paul Scofield in was one of my all time favorite, Quiz Show as the Van Doren patriarch. He was wonderful in that, too.
A Man For All Seasons is an ok movie in a pretty blah year (other lackluster nominees: Who’s Afraid of Viriginia Woolf, Alfie, The Sand Pebbles, and The Russians are Coming). A great non-nominee? Blow-up. Antonioni’s masterpiece.
For the dinner thing I had several options: we could do an English cuisine meal or a meal that would have been served in Henry VIII’s time…
this is from this website: Eat Like a King
A big monarch with an even bigger appetite.
The meals of King Henry VIII of England were among the most fantastic dishes ever created. He consumed meals of bizarre meats like dolphin and songbird, and enjoyed intricate puddings moulded from sugar. Tudor food was based on astrology as much as taste, and included elaborate gelatines made of deer antler, even alcoholic spirits flavoured with pure gold. From their great palaces, the Tudor monarchs were served extravagant meals that combined the outrageous with the everyday – from pies of songbirds and gelatines stained with children’s urine, to mouth-watering saddle’s of lamb and the most delicious spit-roasted meats in all Europe.
Or we could do a four season meal. I chose the four season meal. Where was I going to find dolphin or songbird in the midwest?
small head escarole, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 Belgian endive, leaves separated
1 celery stalk, cut on the diagonal into thin slices
1 small Granny Smith apple, halved cored and thinly sliced1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely diced shallot
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
Combine greens, celery, and apples in a large bowl. Whisk together both vinegars and the shallot. Slowly whisk in the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad ingredients with some of the vinaigrette. Garnish with shaved Parmigiano.
Spring Chicken & Asparagus Soup
For the soup:
Saute a chopped onion and two minced cloves of garlic in 1/4 cup of meted butter for about 25 minutes.
Add 3 cups chicken stock & bring to a boil
Add 1 lb chopped up asparagus, one carrot chopped up, handful of parsley and simmer for 50 min to an hour. When vegetables are cool puree in a blender until smooth. Reheat puree with reserved tips for about 10 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
For the chicken:
1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh parsley
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with some parsley, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions and carrots, in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.
Summer Ratatouille–from Rachael Ray
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips
5 baby eggplant, quartered lengthwise
6 baby zucchini, quartered lengthwise
5 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise and seeded
2 shallots, peeled and sliced lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil, to coat
Coarse salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Working on a cookie sheet, combine vegetables. Drizzle liberally with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat vegetables evenly. Roast until just tender, 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.
Autumn Pear & Ginger Tarte Tatin–from Epicurious.com
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped into small bowl
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
5 medium-size firm Anjou pears (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled, halved, cored, each half cut into 4 wedges
Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface to 10-inch square. Trim edges, making 10-inch-diameter round; pierce round all over with fork. Slide onto rimless baking sheet. Cover and chill pastry while preparing pears or up to 1 day. Fill large skillet with ice and water; set aside. Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup in heavy 10-inch-diameter nonstick ovenproof skillet over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil until syrup is dark amber color, occasionally swirling and brushing down sides of skillet with wet pastry brush, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter, then vanilla-bean seeds and ginger (caramel will bubble up). Arrange pears, cut side down and overlapping, in circle in skillet, placing a few around edge, if necessary. Place skillet over medium heat. Cook until pears are tender and syrup thickens enough to coat spoon, about 23 minutes. Place hot skillet atop ice in large skillet to cool pear mixture quickly. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place puff pastry round atop pear mixture in skillet; tuck in edges around pears. Bake tart until pastry is puffed and golden, about 35 minutes. Cool tart completely in pan at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Rewarm tart in oven 8 minutes. Place platter atop skillet. Using oven mitts, hold skillet and platter together and turn over, releasing tart. Serve tart with whipped cream.