Italian food

orange that's … Italian food

Nothing dangerous or sinister about it.

Catch. That's a Sicilian message. It means well, we'll get to that. I watch The Godfather all the way through several times a year. Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 masterpiece is arguably the best movie ever made. It is also arguably a food movie, therefore it is inarguably the best food movie ever.

It tells the story of New York's Corleone crime family, literally a family at the top, at least. Don Vito Corleone, the Godfather himself, played by Marlon Brando is at the very top. He immigrated from Sicily as an orphan boy with nothing, and finding no economic opportunities in the legitimate world for a penniless guinea like him, Vito became a neighborhood tough, but a benevolent neighborhood tough, a kind of Robin Hood for his fellow impoverished Southern Italian immigrants in the lower east side of Manhattan.

He stole from the wasps and he gave to the whops. Don Vito built an empire on illegal gambling, union corruption and bootlegging during prohibition. And he built a mansion for his family in the suburbs. And what about that family? Well, The Godfather is to me a tragedy very much in the mold of King Lear. It's about a succession crisis that brews as a great king nears the end of his life.

It's a tragedy about a doomed inheritance. The great king Don Vito is unable to bequeath all of his talents to any one of his three sons, and thus none of them is worthy to inherit the throne. Don Vito's personality splits as if through a prism into the next generation and his formidable personal gifts fragment into dangerous shards. His eldest son, Sonny, inherits the Don's charm and passion. The middle son, Fredo, inherits the Don's gentle kindness. And the third son, Michael, played by a very young Al Pacino, Michael inherits the Don's ruthless calculating intelligence. And perhaps that's why Michael wants nothing to do with the family business. He's too smart for a life of crime, and he's the most American of the three boys.

He goes to an Ivy League school, but when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, he joins the Marines and becomes a war hero. The notion that you would fight for someone other than your family, someone other than your blood, this is anathema to Michael's father, Don Vito, who is firmly rooted in an ancient tribal worldview that will not survive the century. But the Don also has big hopes for Michael. The. Don hopes that if he can keep Michael's hands clean of the family business, well then Michael could grow to find a place in the "legitimate world," the power structure that heretofore had rejected the Corleones and other immigrants like them. And that's where we are when the movie starts. Michael comes home from the war to attend his sister's big fat Sicilian wedding. Events unfold that destabilize the family and threaten the empire.

A different kind of war breaks out. And in the end, it's Michael who inherits the throne, a throne he never wanted, a throne that his father never wanted for him. And it's a throne of which Michael is every bit as unworthy as his brothers because Michael inherited the Don's head, not his heart.

And as every step of the tragedy

Unfolds, we watch these lovable yet terrifying italian american men eat.

All the time they are eating. They're doing murder, and they're eating, always eating. Food is their shibboleth. It's the secret handshake distinguishing the family from everyone else, from strangers.

Coppola's film and Mario Puzo's novel on which the film is based, these drew heavily and faithfully from the real lives of regal recent southern Italian immigrants in New York. But when the movie hit and hit very big, I think the tail started to wag the dog. I think that people like my father and his cousins, I think that they mirrored The Godfather more than The Godfather mirrored them. The movie provided a model for the way that Italian Americans behave and talk and eat to this very day. So today on the pod, we're going to recap The Godfather focusing specifically on the cooking and the eating. Less so the murder, but the eating and the murder really are inseparable. Leave the gun and take the cannoli. I will be joined as I have been before by my two dear friends, Ben Harrison and Adam Pranica, both professional filmmakers who accidentally stumbled into internet micro celebrity much the way that I did.

They made a podcast just for fun where they recapped every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. They called it The Greatest Generation. And to their surprise, their show hit really big. Adam and Ben are now full-time Star Trek episode recappers. Their flagship podcast, The Greatest Generation is currently into a Star Trek Voyager. They did Next Generation, then DS9. Now they're into Voyager. They have a second podcast called The Greatest Trek, and that's where they review all the new Trek shows that are being produced by Paramount's.

Star Trek Industrial Complex, aka Big Rod. I composed the music for both of these podcasts and I listen to every single episode. If you like Star Trek, subscribe to The. Greatest Generation and The Greatest Trek. Go back and listen from the beginning if you want. One thing about Ben and Adam is that they are both far more serious people than their shows would indicate. And one thing about me is that I am far less serious than my shows would indicate. So we kind of meet in the middle when all three of us recap a movie, which means that things are going to get a little extra silly and profane on this episode.

We are down an average of 44%

This year, according to jp morgan chase.

So it's no wonder that big banks

And firms are allocating 30 to 50% of their assets to alternatives per our recent mckinsey study.

Alternatives, the value of which is historically somewhat independent of the stock market.

Diversification, you call this. Not just real estate or precious metals, but art. Goldman Sachs names fine art, right alongside precious metals as being a way to help protect your purchasing power. Citi reports that blue chip contemporary art has a near zero correlation to stocks. Masterworks lets you invest in this same art. Individual paintings worth millions of dollars that I could never afford to buy all by myself, Masterworks buys a painting that they think will accrue in value, and then they go to the Securities Exchange Commission, they securitize this asset, and then people like you and me can buy shares at a more accessible price.

And now we recap The Godfather as part of a series on this podcast that I call Food on Film. And Food on Film has a theme song. It goes like this. Ben and Adam, welcome. Thank you for being here.

Could I offer you something, perhaps an orange? Ben: Yeah. Just the peel is all I need, man. I'm here to do bits with orange peels. Adam P.: Those bits always scare me. They make me cry. Ben: Yeah. Well that's nothing compared to what they do to me when I do them. Do you think Vito was claimed by the orange peel in the end? Adam R.: It's that simple that he spit it out after scaring little Anthony and he slipped on it.

He didn't have a heart attack.

He slipped and fell on an orange peel.

New York back in the day, there was litter everywhere. So Ben: I mean, this is a food podcast and one of the things that I always appreciate when you bring up Gus, is food safety issues. Adam R.: Oh sure. Yeah. Ben: We don't talk about the ways that orange peels can hurt old men enough. Adam R.: But this awareness is so important.

Ben: Yeah, that's why I'm wearing my orange ribbon to raise orange peel safety awareness. Oh shoot, I forgot to put it on broadcast. Adam R.: Oh, no. Adam P.: We didn't get the corresponding scene where Vito's being prepared, his body is being prepared for the funeral and the morticians. I can't do anything about the orange in his mouth. It's beyond my Adam R.: I used all my skills and all of my talents. Adam P.: I could put Sonny's face back together after being blown apart at a toll booth. But the orange is too far.

Ben: At his wake, he's going to look like a kid after a soccer game. And there's nothing anybody can do about that. Adam R.: So to rewind the tape a little bit at the beginning of the film, it's a nice day for a white wedding. Don Vito, the most powerful mob boss in New York, the year is 1945 and his only daughter Connie, is getting wedded, married in a big spectacular wedding in the backyard, it looks like, of the palatial estate that Don has built for himself out inside is it maybe supposed to be Long Island or something? Some suburb, right? Ben: Yeah.

I think they say Long. Beach at some point, right? Adam R.: Is there a Long Beach in New York? Ben: There is a Long Beach in New York. Adam R.: Huh? Ben: Yeah. Adam R.: Because I think okay, that's not the LBC that Snoop Dogg is talking about.

Ben: Gangster drama in both places, but different types of gangster drama. Adam R.: Very, very different. Well, but I suppose it's all the same in the end. And the first appearance of food that we see at this wedding is an orange being tossed to Don Vito's one of his two capo regime, is one of his two underbosses. Salvatore Tessio catches an orange. And there's nothing symbolic or pretentious about that. Ben: No, I didn't think it was symbolic or pretentious. I reject symbolism though, just as a matter of course.

Adam P.: You say that because you would've biffed the catch. Adam R.: You George Michaeled it? Ben: Yeah. Yeah.

I mean this is another orange food

Safety issue that i want to raise awareness around.

Adam P.: What was the most delicious

Thing at this wedding to you? because to me, that pile of cookies on all the tables.

Adam R.: Oh, the brightly colored- . Adam P.: They're so beautiful. Adam R.: Italian cookies look awesome.

Yes. Adam P.: Yeah, I would've filled up had I gone to this wedding, I would've filled up on that more than anything else probably. Adam R.: Yeah. A big white box of those. Adam P.: Yeah. Can you imagine a stomach full of sangria and those cookies, the hangover after that? Adam R.: So you noticed the sangria. You noticed you see Clemenza, who is Don Vito's other underboss, the big fat one, asks his henchman Paulie, for some wine and Paulie hands over this giant pitcher of what looks like sangria but is actually I finally, for the first time in my life, looked it up because I was like, "They don't have sangria in Sicily where these people came from." .

Adam P.: Why would they want something so delicious? Adam R.: Well, why would they want something so Spanish? Ben: Why would they want something from a different culture ever? Adam R.: Ever.

Exactly. Everybody knows that people, if they're in the old country, only have what's in the old country. And certainly Sicily is not proximate to any other major civilizations. Has not absorbed any of their influences. Never been conquered by anyone. Yeah. Ben: No, I can't think of a single instance of that. Adam R.: Never happened.

So Sicilian sangria say that ten sometimes fast. Seriously Sicilian sangria- . Ben: It's a vocal warmup before we do any podcasting. We do the red leather, yellow leather. We do Sicilian sangria. Adam R.: Mi, mi, mi, mi. Sicilian sangria. Yes.

It's [foreign language 00:15:28] which [foreign language 00:15:31] is like a. Sicilian peach. It's chunks of peaches that you cut up and you stink in the wine for a long time. Doesn't that sound awesome? Adam P.: You eat those peaches at the end? Adam R.: Yeah, I totally would. You got to. Wine, red wine, macerated peaches? Give me. Ben: Happiness is when you're hungry and you find some peaches in the bottom of your wine.

Adam R.: Well said.

So there's another thing that happens in this wedding scene that has hounded my waking thoughts for 30 some years, ever since I was way too young and my father showed me this movie because he thought that it was culturally important for us. Adam P.: Wow. Cool dad. Cool dad alert. Adam R.: I suppose the first thing that haunted my mind was the Moe Green special. That was what made it real hard to get to sleep that night. But this one is, I have been thinking about this for decades, and it's an unnamed henchman shouts out to Paulie, who's a barely named henchman in the film, and he throws Paulie some sandwiches. You remember that? Adam P.: Yeah.

Adam R.: And he says, "Hey Paulie, I've got two gabagool, capcoull and prosciutto." Ben: Yeah. Adam R.: Gabagool is capcoull. Gabagool is the American Italian famous weird pronunciation of Capicola, which is the kind of salami, right? Ben: Right. Adam R.: So he says, two gabagool, one capcoull, and one prosciutto. What is the difference between the gabagool and the capcoull? Ben: Is it possible that gabagool is prepared slightly differently than capcoull? Is it like capcoull is imported from Italy and gabagool is- . Adam R.: Oh, that's the real shit. Ben: Domestically produced. Adam R.: The gabagool is from New Jersey.

Yeah. Adam P.: I wasn't aware I was a guest on IMDB Goofs The Podcast. Ben: It's like the difference between Parmesan cheese and Parmesano Reggiano. Adam R.: Right, right. Yes. Parmesan, which we would come to call sprinkle cheese in the green craft canister. Ben: Yeah. Yeah.

Adam P.: Do you feel like they were at this wedding, which was clearly catered plenty to eat all around, did they order sandwiches from outside the wedding that were then brought in? Adam R.: No. Shirley unnamed henchman just went over to the table because he knew that Paulie was bodyguarding on the dance floor. Adam P.: The thing that the reason I ask is because they were wrapped in that butcher paper like that of a deli. I wonder if someone made a run. Adam R.: Wow. That would be Adam P.: And how hot of a move is that? If you're at a wedding and maybe it's just cookies and sangria and maybe you want a little bit of a baseline there in the tumtum? Ben: Something savory. Yeah. Adam P.: Yeah, exactly.

You get too Capa.

Cola and a Baba ghanush.

Ben: I really have to take the

Other side on the cookie issue.

Those came on screen and my wife and I were both like, "Ugh." Adam P.: Wow. Adam R.: Is that because whenever you get cookies like that there's always one that's flavored like fennel and you're like Ben: Yeah, there is a certain Russian roulette energy to that type of cookie. But they're also just always way too sweet for my taste. No salt to bring out the sweet in those Italian cookies. Adam R.: I can't relate to you at all right now, Ben.

Who even are you? Adam P.: They must be very popular if they're merched out by the 200 per table. Ben: It's like, "We need to get rid of these disgusting cookies. Pile them up on every table." Adam R.: Yeah. I'm sure for vendors in New York, if they have surplus, substandard goods to get rid of, they would try to dump them on Don Vito. Adam P.: You know what? It's all becoming clear. I went to Ben's wedding and there was nothing sweet served the entire night. So Ben: Yeah, no. We didn't mess around with that kind of nonsense.

Adam P.: Their wedding cake was just a big soft pretzel. Ben: It was it well, it was a soft pretzel with a pile of gabagool on top. Adam P.: Right. Yeah. Adam R.: Speaking of the cake, when the wedding cake comes out and it's taller than a man. Right? Ben: I love Enzo the baker's underpromise on that too. He is like, "The cake, I baked for you big." Adam R.: I know. It's so much bigger than what he says.

And that's not Enzo. That's Enzo's soon to be father-in-law. Right? Ben: Oh, okay. Adam R.: Yeah. Yeah. Adam P.: Does the baker also do kind of a big boobs gesticulation? I feel like when he pantomimes the size of the cake, there's like a- Adam R.: Yes. That's Italian for big anything. Adam P.: All right.

Yeah. Adam R.: Yeah. But scene when they're bringing in the cake is if you just look at I mean, it's many shots in this film that are like Renaissance paintings. There's so many people in the frame and they're all perfectly arranged and there's tons of depth to it. There's people in foreground and background, and it is so choreographed and the cake is totally blown out.

And I was just like, "You can't control everything.

There's one thing you can control a lot of things, but one is not the sun on a white cake." Ben: Almost no shot compositions in this movie that used the Samurai Cop shot composition framework. Adam R.: Nice callback.

Nice callback. Ben: Yeah. I mean, Coppola is just an absolute master of the really big complicated set piece. And it's so fun to the wedding is just such a flawless execution of a tremendously complicated because you'll get shots, you'll get those wide shots where there are 450 people in the frame, but then you get punch ins too. And that's another setup. And they have to match all of those things again with all of those extras, because they're all in the background of the closeup. Adam R.: Does everybody have a piece of tape on the ground of that field in Long Island? Like, "That's your one. Everybody go back to one." Ben: Okay.

You're very light blue and your tape is a slightly darker shade of light blue. Keep Adam P.: Your tape is red, but it also has some hay on it. Adam R.: Hey. So at this wedding, Johnny Fontane comes to the wedding. Johnny Fontane character based on Frank Sinatra, who notoriously, as legend would have it, was also sort of liberated from a bad contract early in his life by his mob boss Godfather. So Johnny Fontane comes and he asks his godfather for a favor getting a movie part and Tom what is Tom's relationship to Don Vito? Adopted son?..