Tube Time with
April 10, 2011
Ratatouille was bound to
come up sooner or later in this blog, but today
we will not be discussing the film.
While the connection between Disney and
food is quite obvious with this film, a
discussion of Ratatouille would be
incomplete without a little known 'history'
behind the film's marketing.
Disney and Pixar took their movie to the most
relevant audience by involving the obvious food
related company in the entertainment industry:
the Food Network.
This Sunday Brunch we'll be exploring
some Food Network specials themed to
Ratatouille and made available in a special
DVD compilation 'Ratatouille Cooking Fun for All
Ages,' a bonus DVD exclusive to
Wal-Mart stores that came packaged with
the 2007 DVD release of Ratatouille.
The disc contains two
specials pertaining to Ratatouille, and two
kid-friendly episodes of popular Food Network
shows. When starting the disc
you get a nice menu that orders the episodes as
The episodes seem to be in
order of relevance to Ratatouille, with
the first two having clear themes to the film
and the latter two, whose relevance is to the
kid audience the film attracts.
We'll start with those two as their
relevance to Disney and food is virtually
30 Minutes Meals with
Rachael Ray is a quick episode where
Rachel shows us how to make some healthy,
kid-friendly afternoon snacks with the help of
whom else, but a kid. The kid
is pretty funny because ironically he doesn't
want to try anything Rachael makes.
The title of the episode is in reference
to her actual show on Food Network, complete
with commercials, though on this disc it's a
flat out lie since it only clocks in at about 11
minutes. In that brief amount
of time, Rachel cooks up chicken toes (because
they're shorter than chicken fingers and she
doesn't want to say
chicken nuggets), a mild salsa dip, and a
veggie platter. The chicken
toes seem pretty cool as they're breaded with
corn flake cereal.
Overall, it's a nice little feature that will
certainly provide 'cooking fun' for the younger
crowd watching this disc.
Ray and her friend Beecham crunch up the
corn flakes for the chicken toes.
Good Eats with
Alton Brown is always a good time,
Alton Brown does not fail to entertain.
This episode's relevance to
Ratatouille is extremely far-fetched other
than being kid friendly as it explores an
Italian staple and also the founding fathers of
America. Alton's nephew Elton
comes to his uncle asking for help for his
history report on the founding fathers; he asks
why George Washington stuck a feather in his hat
and called it macaroni. The
only way to find the answer to this is to learn
Macaroni and Cheese, the popular
children's dinner that comes in a blue box!
As with any Good Eats episode,
this one is quite enjoyable and looks through
the history of macaroni and a great recipe for
real macaroni and cheese, and not the kind you
get out of a blue box. Being
the last feature, it is a great way to finish up
the DVD cooking adventure, even though it has
virtually nothing to do with Ratatouille.
Brown explains to his nephew Elton about cooking
Macaroni in lots of salted water.
The second feature on this
DVD was what I was looking forward to the most
Dinner Impossible is one of my
favorite Food Network shows.
For those unfamiliar with the show, Chef
Robert Irvine is tasked with cooking up
impossible dinners usually with hundreds of
guests and crazy restrictions (e.g. an episode
at a candy store had him use a type of candy in
each dish). In the second
season, Chef Robert was tasked to make lunch for
animators at Pixar Animation Studios, though the
menu had to represent
Finding Nemo, Cars, and
Ratatouille. I've never
seen this episode and I would love to find out
what crazy menu items represented Cars.
I'm still wondering about that as sadly,
this DVD did not contain that episode
(originally aired November 7, 2007, so there was
a small window of time to get this on the disc
before the DVD release of the movie).
Robert Irvine and his little helper make Crepe
batter in a Ratatouille bowl with a Ratatouille
Instead, we get a 7 minute
Breakfast: Entirely Possible.
It's odd that the DVD labels the feature as
Chef Robert Irvine:
Dinner Impossible, yet in this
mini-sode he makes a breakfast item with two
children, explaining how easy it is to make some
fun Ratatouille treats.
None of the expected adrenaline rushing,
Chef Robert yelling, will-they-make-the-deadline
pandemonium here; in fact, this little
featurette seems to be the exact opposite of
Chef Robert's show. He cooks
up a traditional breakfast crepe, a savory
crepe, and a dessert crepe with the help of a
little girl, her older brother, and a line of
Ratatouille themed kitchen accessories and
supplies. Chef Robert is a
big guy known to be crazy and rushing around the
kitchen, so it's pretty odd to see him calm and
working with children. I
think the Dinner Impossible part of this
featurette is that it's impossible for this to
ever happen on the actual show.
Not only is it disappointing that this
was not a mission for an impossible dinner, they
don't even go over measurements of the
ingredients so unless you can visually guess how
much of everything goes into the recipe, it
would be difficult for viewers to make this at
home. Though this feature had
featured Ratatouille albeit as a ploy to
sell the merchandise, it was the most
disappointing and invaluable of the features.
Though I shouldn't complain as this DVD
was free to begin with!
With the fluff that was
those other 'cooking fun'
Food Network episodes out of the way, the
best part of this disc is what is listed first:
Emeril Live: Ratatouille Time with
This episode is a clear tie-in to the
movie release as it originally aired July
27, 2007 and featured some behind the scenes
featurettes about the making of the movie before
each commercial break.
Animators explain how they studied how food
looks by actually cooking. The second picture shows how easy it is to make
CGI food look unappetizing.
Also, Patton Oswalt, the
voice of Remy, was a special guest on the show.
Emeril Lagasse did a fantastic job with
this episode of his live show, creating a true
French bistro menu with such dishes as Fris'e
salad with lardons (cubes of bacon), Cassoulet
(a kind of casserole featuring
duck confit), and Apricot and Peach Galette (a classic
French pastry dessert). A
cooking show promoting Ratatouille would
not be complete without its namesake, so Emeril
cooked up a delicious Grilled Vegetable
Ratatouille on grilled crostini.
Just like Remy, Emeril made the
ratatouille different than its traditional
and Patton Oswalt add the duck confit to the
Emeril is always a delight
to watch as his lively, energetic personality is
well suited for his show format, which is
essentially a talk show and cooking show
combined into one. Patton
Oswalt was an entertaining guest as he was
fascinated by Emeril's cooking antics; I was a
bit surprised to see how little he knew about
cooking. He marveled at a pot
of cooking duck and the making of the cassoulet
and he genuinely enjoyed each dish that Emeril
With the DVD release of
Ratatouille being almost 4 years ago, it will be
difficult to find this DVD at Wal-Mart where it
was exclusively available, but there is always
online merchants and also second hand DVD stores
that may have it available in their documentary
section. In my opinion, this
DVD is worth it for the episode of Emeril alone
as it not only offers a terrific cooking program
tying in with a great Disney-Pixar movie, but it
also shows how the movie was promoted during the
time of its theatrical release.
Movie media tie-in pieces are a great
piece of history and something that is hard to
find on DVDs nowadays.
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