Films / Cooking History
Hungary | Documentary Feature | 2009 | 88 min | Website
Director: Peter Kerekes
Awards: Gold Hugo Award-Chicago International Film Festival, Special Jury Award International Feature-Hot Docs Toronto, Fipresci Jury Award-Leipzig Film Festival
Film source: Taskovski Films
A documentary film about army cooks and how the everyday needs of thousands of armed stomachs affect the victories and defeats of statesmen. It reveals the field kitchen as a model of a world where food preparation becomes a military strategy, a fight for great ideals standing on the strong legs of a kitchen table.
The film is based on eleven recipes of the cooks from World War II to the war in Tchechenia, from France through the Balkans to Russia.
Military chefs have a unique, and until now, unshared influence on the battlefield. “A hungry soldier doesn’t feel safe,” explains a sausage-wielding army cook. Feeding troops has been a tactical strategy used to truly astounding results in major European conflicts of the 20th century. A Russian woman’s meat blintzes provided 11 million soldiers the necessary courage to conquer in World War II. A Jewish prison camp breadmaker executed a plan against his Nazi captors with the only tools at his disposal. Tito’s personal chef shares the state dinner menus whose warring national cuisines foretold the Balkan War itself. By turns wry and rousing, the personal stories of history’s forgotten witnesses quietly humanize war’s unrecorded battles and costs. Six wars, 11 recipes, and 60,361,024 dead – Cooking History is a fascinating retelling of the past.