It's no surprise that Midnight's Children, a film directed by Oscar-nominated director Deepa Mehta about a young man's quest to reconnect with his past in the wake of Indian independence, makes food a central part of the story. Chutney, to be precise.
Food and the silver screen have always been inextricably intertwined — think of the Animal House cafeteria scene, Stallone gulping down raw eggs in Rocky, the Lady and the Tramp sharing spaghetti, or, well, just about any Brad Pitt movie. And let's not forget the more recent trend of movies that are just unashamedly about food, like Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
As the main character, Saleem Sinai, journeys through his past, his maid's green chutney plays a central role in many of the most important moments; its taste and smell were the very impetus for his journey.
In the novel on which the movie is based, author Salman Rushdie writes, "The taste of the chutney was more than just an echo of that long-ago taste — it was the old taste itself, the very same, with the power of bringing back the past as if it had never been away… Once again an abracadabra, an open-sesame: words printed on a chutney-jar, opening the last door of my life." Chutney is also featured at every meal and mentioned in many scenes in the movie.
If you'd like to connect with the characters in the film, due to be released here in the United States April 26, be sure to try Deepa Mehta's family recipe.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.