Last week Jen and I filled out a questionnaire for the Food Bloggers of Canada so they could feature us on their weekly Featured Member Blog series. It was fun talking about ourselves and our current thoughts on Crustcrumbs. One of the questions asked was “How did you decide on a name for your blog?” and though we answered truthfully, we did leave out many of the ideas from one of our brainstorming sessions. I was so hooked on the idea of coming up with a word or phrase that didn’t mean anything and didn’t really relate to food, I suggested jokingly, knowing Jen’s love for the movie Jurassic Park, we call the blog “Hold on to Your Butts”, in honour of everyone’s favourite Samuel L. Jackson line. Thankfully we didn’t go with that name but we did decide that come June, to mark the anniversary of the 1993 theatrical release, we’d do an homage to Jurassic Park.
There’s plenty of eating that takes place in the film that goes beyond dinosaurs chomping down on terrified park guests. In a park that has “spared no expense” to provide its visitors with a spectacular experience there are several scenes where food helps to highlight the over-the-top extravagance the park has to offer. We see plates of Chilean seabass set down after a grisly velociraptor feeding scene, some ordinary pie topped with Newman’s own shaving cream, tub after tub of melting ice cream, exotic fruit and vegetable platters, a dessert table worthy of any 90s cruise ship, and of course, a shaky spoonful of lime Jell-O.
After much discussion we decided to recreate the dessert table because it would mean we could do some extra Jell-O eating shots after we were finished with the hard part. We knew one of the major details for adding depth to the shoot had to be the dinosaur mural that wraps around the dining room in the movie. Who else but Jen and I could have someone waiting in the wings that’s willing to paint us a dinosaur mural? Thankfully, our new semi-regular Crustcrumbs props contributor, Justine, was surprisingly into the idea and ready to help.
The fun part of concocting this shoot was making up what type of desserts are in the screen grab—like creating some Jurassic Park foodie-fan fiction. We know from the dialogue that most of the park staff has deserted the island because of a tropical storm and judging by the melting ice cream and imperfect desserts left standing on the table, the pastry chef was first to board the boat. Initially, I counted five desserts and the tropical resort-style setting led me to believe that on that table in front of Timmy was a myriad of island flavours made for North American tastebuds. I determined that there must have been a Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Petals, an Apple Flan, a Coconut Mousse Tart with Toasted Meringue, a White Chocolate and Pear Cake with Strawberry Glaze, and a Banana Soufflé with Raspberries. Too late in the game, I checked my old VHS tape to re-watch the scene and found in the full screen version another dessert—what looks like a Mixed Fruit Tart. I asked Jen to check her Blu-ray and DVD versions but both are widescreen with that lonely dessert cut off at the bottom, leaving it to remain a special treat to anyone that watches the full screen version of the movie.
It seems this is the kind of thing we do in our spare time. The planning, crafting and shooting of it felt so ridiculous—in the best way—because here we are as a adults, spending our days off from our real jobs, making elaborate setups of food scenes from movies we liked growing up. Even better, we’re both able to file this under experience for our real jobs. I recently read a Vice article about that author’s obsession with watching Martin Scorsese’s Casino over and over for the clothes. The author speaks with the costume designer, Rita Ryack, and she said something I feel can also be true of food styling and photography, which is, “Costume design really has nothing to do with fashion. It’s creating a character; it’s storytelling.” I think Crustcrumbs is about telling a story through what we’re eating. Whether it’s something ordinary like Cottage Cheese Pie or something more elaborate like a sugary feast after a night spent being chased by a bunch of genetically cloned dinosaurs, the food helps to define whatever character we decide we want to act out that day. It may look at times like Crustcrumbs is having an identity crisis but that’s what makes it interesting for us, so you’d better “hold on to your butts”.