The most memorable piece of cooking philosophy I ever heard was something I picked up when I was very young. I have repeated it both in jest and in all seriousness. I have definitely referred to it and used it to justify that burning something is not the worst thing one can do. And I have told it as a simple anecdote about one of my favorite topics, Cooking Movies!
The profound and insightful gem was divulged in a short scene in the movie, “Sabrina,” starring Audrey Hepburn, William Holden and Humphrey Bogart. The first time I saw this movie, I was probably around eight. I didn’t think leading men Bogart or Holden were anything to get excited about—they were no McDreamy or McSteamy—so I didn’t see what the big deal was. Audrey Hepburn, on the other hand, was totally awesome. I loved watching her and I definitely wanted to be like her in many ways. Including going to Paris to study cooking.
In the 1954 movie, Sabrina (Hepburn) the daughter of the Larabee family’s chauffeur, is infatuated with wealthy playboy David Larabee (Holden). Heartbroken when David doesn’t seem to notice her, she goes to Paris for two years and comes back an elegant, sophisticated grown woman. When she returns home, David finally takes an interest in her. But Sabrina falls for David’s more serious brother Linus Larabee (Bogart) and Linus falls for her too.
The memorable scene is in Paris where Sabrina is trying to forget her unrequited love. She is attending culinary school and her souffle has fallen totally flat. Fellow student, the Baron St. Fontanel says,
“A woman happily in love, she burns the soufflé. A woman unhappily in love, she forgets to turn on the oven.”
There you go. What young woman would ever forget to turn on the oven after that? I never did.