Avatunatartare - collage by David GartnerOkay, I’ll admit it: I watch the Academy Awards for the outfits. And for the possibility of crazy behavior on the podium, as the sudden release of mind-bending pressure makes these over-coddled thoroughbreds behave like the hundred pounds of crazy they really are. But really, will anything this year top Bjork’s swan? Or the pre-MILF Angelina Jolie smooching her brother?

The tyranny of tastefulness, in both dress and behavior, has taken much of the fun out of these silly shows (along with the huge, indigestible blocks of commercials crammed in every six minutes). Still, though, here in the Bay Area we love our Oscar parties, and if you’re going to fill the couch in front of the big screen, you’ve got to provide the munchies to match.

There are many amusing options at #oscarmenu, from District 9 Prawn Kebabs to Avatunatartare, with a side of pink candy cigarettes to puff like Julianne Moore in A Single Man. And don’t forget The Blind Side Salad, washed down with a glass of The Hurt Lager, followed (for you art-house fans) with The Peaches of Agnes.

2010 Oscar Nominee/Food Mashups by David Gartner

As Karen Wilson points out in Bon Appetit, there’s a lot of cute (fake) food in Fantastic Mr. Fox. Roald Dahl was a man with a keen palate, as his essay on the Dutch Arnhemse Meisjes (which he called, quite simply, the best biscuits in the world) would prove. Director Anderson makes the edibles in his film come brightly and sweetly to life, from the vividly lit grocery-store shelves to the lavishly set table of the animals’ dinner party. And then, of course, are the equally alluring (and equally fake) baguettes and buns rising through the roof in the latest Wallace and Gromit animated short, A Matter of Loaf and Death.

However charming they may look on-screen, though, dinky loaves and pies made from Play-Do and paper-mache don’t do much to whet the appetite. For that, I suppose, most people will be turning to Julie & Julia, with its walls of gleaming copper pots and its smear-your-face French chocolate cake. You can’t go wrong serving La Reine de Saba, Julia Child’s unbeatable chocolate-almond cake, although I’d advise your guests against tearing it with their hands like crazed wildebeests. Chocolate cake on the chin: always a little disgusting, even for a professional cutie like Chris Messina.

Down in Los Angeles at the Governor’s Ball, our Governator will be supping (budget issues be damned) on mini kobe beef burgers, lobster tempura, crab cakes with mango, black truffle and ricotta pizza, smoked salmon and potato galettes with butler-passed warm brioche, and baked alaska with espresso ice cream and chocolate sorbet, all whipped up by Mr. Kooky Pizza himself, Wolfgang Puck.

Burgers, pizza and ice cream! Clearly, our governor’s celebrity chef is in sympathy with the working man struggling to get by on dollar meals, just like the families at the drive-through in Food, Inc. Wouldn’t Michael Pollan be proud.

Oscar Party Food 8 March,2010Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen


Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen

Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen is a longtime local food writer, author, and cook. Her books include The Art of Vintage Cocktails (Egg & Dart Press), World of Doughnuts (Egg & Dart Press); Kids in the Kitchen: Fun Food (Williams Sonoma); Honey from Flower to Table (Chronicle Books) and The Astrology Cookbook: A Cosmic Guide to Feasts of Love (Manic D Press). She has studied organic farming at UCSC and holds a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. She does frequent cooking demonstrations at local farmers’ markets and has taught food writing at Media Alliance in San Francisco and the Continuing Education program at Stanford University. She has been the lead restaurant critic for the San Francisco Bay Guardian as well as for San Francisco magazine. She has been an assistant chef at the Headlands Center for the Arts, an artists’ residency program located in the Marin Headlands, and a production cook at the Marin Sun Farms Cafe in Pt Reyes Station. After some 20 years in San Francisco interspersed with stints in Oakland, Santa Cruz, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, she recently moved to Sonoma county but still writes in San Francisco several days a week.

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