Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Wax beans. Like baby’s fingers, they must be pickled to be eaten. The color comes from the smoked paprika (Pimenton “El Angel”) I added to the brine.

Sometimes an Ealing Studios comedy really hits the spot, crisp and lively as a pickled wax bean. The Man in the White Suit, for instance, with its sly unification of capital and labor against the naïve inventor (of a material that will not wear out or ever need cleaning), who is aided only by Joan Greenwood, she of the buckwheat-honey naughty kitten voice, giving Jean Arthur a run for her money in the pantheon of wonderfully, erotically, voiced actresses; the gentle macabre of The Ladykillers, with genius Peter Sellers breathing heavily; or the heist comedy, The Lavender Hill Mob. Tonight it was 1949’s Kind Hearts and Coronets at BAM, with Alex Guinness playing all the eight members of a family standing in the way of Dennis Price’s dukedom. Price is a legitimate heir, but he's scorned because his mum ran off with an Italian singer; so he plots his revenge, playing the English gentleman to the fullest as he commits mass murder. (Lovely, really, seeing the toffs buy the farm.) Joan Greenwood rears her slinky shoulders, playing just as ruthless, and suggesting she’s not above a knifing or two, either, to get what she wants. The ending, which reminds as to never write our memoirs until we’re dead, is perfect, with Price, deciding between the Scylla and Charybdis of the women in his life, suddenly pestered by a gossip monger.