This movie came out in 1967. I was 9 years old and living in a suburb of Detroit. The Detroit riots also happened in July of 1967. I was oblivious to all of it. The school system to which I belonged was pretty evenly divided between black and white students. While we didn't really comingle outside of school, we were all pretty friendly in school and I can't recall any animosity.
Of course, I was in grade school. My brothers who were in high school had a different experience.
Why am I talking of the Detroit riots in a post for FoodnFlix? This movie, starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, is all about their daughter, played by Katherine Houghton, making a surprise visit home to introduce them to her fiancé, played by Sidney Poitier.
It is a film about how life is very black and white until something happens that forces you to see the gray in the world and to acknowledge your own prejudice, bias and belief system. Not only is Sidney Poitier black but he is also 14 years older than their daughter, widowed and they had only known each other less than 2 weeks.
I watched this movie very early in the month. I have sat down to write this post, I don't know how many times. Each time I was moved to tears and had to stop writing. This film hit me square in the face with my own faults and shortcomings.
My daughter did not come home with a man of a different race who was much older than she. My son, however, did blurt out to me, during an argument when he was a young teenager, that he was gay. I would like to say that I handled this news with as much tact and diplomacy as Katherine Hepburn in this movie. I would think that the news she was given in the late sixties was much the same as that given to me in the late 80's.
I did not handle it gracefully. I did not give my son the unconditional love and support that is required when you take on the role of being a mother. I was scared and that fear came out in anger and hurtful words and accusations. I actually said these words "You may as well have painted yourself black. You are choosing to live a life where people will treat you with disdain and disgust. At least black people don't have a choice."
I cringe as I write those words. I am ashamed that I was so ignorant about others who might be different than I, whether that difference was skin color, religion, race, or sexuality. It took me years to forgive myself for the way I treated my son. Many more years than it took him to forgive me.
My son is a fine, good man. He has so many wonderful qualities of which I am so proud. Not the least of these fine qualities is his empathy and understanding for his mother who was unable to show empathy and understanding for him.
I'm going to stop writing now because I am blubbering all over my keyboard. Suffice it to say that if you haven't seen this movie, you should. I can't believe how little we, as a country have grown in the last 50 years. I am proud to say that I have tried my very best to learn about others, their beliefs, cultures and traditions without judgement or preconception....it was a hard lesson but a great gift given to me from my son.
Let's talk food......there was not a lot of food in the movie. At the very beginning, the daughter requests sandwiches from their longtime cook and asks what she is serving for dinner. The cook, played by Isabel Sanford, replies Celery Soup. The daughter says "Oh no, we need turtle soup, tournedos and one of your famous pies".
Other food mentioned or spotted were: coffee, steaks, lettuce, peas, mandarins, ice cream, a Japanese restaurant, and lots of cocktails.
I decided to make Celery soup, using this recipe from Bon Appetit. I adapted it only slightly, halving the recipe as I was only serving 2. Frank still had enough to enjoy seconds. This is a delicious, fast and easy soup that will be appearing again as a first course at an upcoming dinner party.
Thank you Evelyne for choosing this film. It was especially poignant to me during this Lenten season of introspection. I found it interesting that in 1967 marriage between a black and a white person was still illegal in 16 or 17 States. We find this mind boggling now but same sex marriage has only been legal for a few years and there are constant threats to change that.
One last word about this matter. I was proud to see a Catholic priest portrayed in this film as a sensible. loving, caring person who refused to condemn or judge others. Unfortunately the GLBT community hasn't had a lot of support from the church, Catholic or Protestant. I am proud of the stand that our Pope has taken in regards to this matter and I pray that one day our children will look back at the movies of this time and shake their heads in wonder at our ignorance.
Here's my soup.....I should have made a cocktail....I need one after this post LOL.
Celery Soup for Two
adapted from Bon Appetit
1/2 head celery, cleaned and chopped, a few leaves retained for garnish
1 medium golden potato, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 T. butter
1 3/4 c. chicken stock, divided
2 T. fresh baby dill
1/4 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper to tasted
The best olive oil you have
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over med high heat. Add the celery, potato and onions. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes, until vegetables start to soften. Add 1 1/2 c. of chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until vegetables are fork tender.
Pour into a heavy duty blender or food processor. Add the dill and cream, puree until smooth. Add the remaining 1/4 c. stock for a thinner consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
Pour into individual bowls, drizzle with some good olive oil and garnish with reserved celery leaves. Print Recipe
Next month's film is Runaway Bride. We would love have you join us. Just watch the movie, create a recipe inspired by the movie and stop by Fix Me a Little Lunch and let Ali know that you would like to join us.