1985’s best, Out of Africa is the first female driven epic best picture since 1939’s Gone With the Wind. And, boy is it ever girly. The costumes are beautiful: they look like they’re straight out of a J. Peterman catalogue. Meryl Streep is at the height of her beauty and her accent derring-do. Out of Africa came after her spot-on Polish accent in Sophie’s Choice, her spot-on English accent in Plenty and a couple of years before her spot-on dingo-eating-baby Australian accent. Her Danish accent here is, shocker, spot-on (add a little German to a little Swedish and you’ve got Danish, I think).
Oh my God, according to this movie, did Isak Dinesen ever have a great love like. Ok, sure her philandering husband gave her syphilis and rendered her barren, but what does she get as a reward? dreamy Robert Redford adventurous Denys Finch-Hatton who not only didn’t care about the syphilis but also in what is–according to me– one of the most sensual scenes ever, washes her hair for her. Yowza.
This whole movie is visually stunning: the aerial photography is goose-bump inducing. The recently departed Sydney Pollock definitely deserved his director’s Oscar for this. 1985 was a pretty good year for chick flicks from manly directors–John Huston gave us Prizzi’s Honor (tough killer chick) and Speilberg went all serious with his The Color Purple (don’t get me started on how much I hate this movie. Long story short: Great, great book–crappy, crappy movie. But props to Whoopi Goldberg for a nice job as the abused and then empowered Celie).
Great bit of dialogue from Out of Africa: “It’s too cold for champagne.” “It’s too cold for anything else.” So, we sipped some champagne while watching Meryl weave stories, plant coffee trees, wear amazing dresses, tote around her best china and stemware, avoid getting attacked by a girl lion, and everything else.
Out of Africa was kind of a food dilemma for me. Danish cuisine? Kenyan cuisine. We did both and we had ourselves an intercontinental feast. We ate:
Duck Confit Nachos:
very easy and elegant appetizer. I bought some frozen Charlie Trotter (fancy!) duck confit legs from Costco and prepared them according to directions (boil for about a half hour) and used some Harvarti Cheese (it’s Danish!)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Arrange the chips across a large ovenproof platter or baking sheet. Top with the duck confit and cheese. Arrange the onions and jalapenos over the cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the mixture is hot, 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with Salsa and sour cream. Garnish with additional cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges.
For dinner Jim grilled chicken legs with his version of Morroccan spices (salt pepper, cumin, cinnamon). For a vegetable we prepared a Sukuma wiki, Swahili for “stretch the week,” is a ubiquitous Kenyan dish. Nutritious and tasty.
- Oil or fat — 3 tablespoons–I used Danish butter
- Onion, chopped or minced — 1
- Kale or collard greens, destemmed and finely chopped — 2 pounds
- Tomatoes, chopped — 2 cups
- Water or stock — 1 cup
- Salt and pepper — to taste
for dessert we had these tasty cookies