It’s time for your second installment of “Claire’s favorite kitchen sink films.” Today’s feature is a beauty called Taste of Honey, from 1961. The film, directed by Tony Richardson, was based on a play by Shelagh Delaney, which she wrote when she was eighteen years old. It tells the story of seventeen-year-old Jo, who is clever and funny, but something of an outsider, she awkward and acerbic and she doesn’t fit in easily. Her mother is a hard drinking playgirl, and they move from flat to flat and man to man, avoiding landladies and bill collectors. Jo meets a sailor named Jimmy. He’s kind and cheerful, and he obviously likes her a lot because he tells her, “I dreamt about you last night and I fell out of bed twice.” They spend a few days together, and then he has to return to sea. She’s pregnant and alone, but she’s fine, she’s better than ever. She finds herself a home of her own and a job in a shoe store…a job she’s good at. She meets a textile student named Geoff, and he becomes a good friend, he takes care of Jo and he’s almost more motherly than her actual mother. The film is a masterpiece of acting, writing and filming. It’s so aesthetically pretty, and so beautiful in its honesty and heart and wit. Jimmy is black and Geoff is gay, but aside from a few hastily mean outbursts on Jo’s part, which you know she regrets, this is not an issue. These are not their defining characteristics; they’re warmly, richly written characters and you think about them long after the film is over. And Jo herself, played by the amazing Rita Tushingham, is kind and cruel, strong and confused, loving but guarded. She’s made a life for herself and she’s justifiably proud, but she’s also terrified of having a baby, of being on her own, of having a baby on her own. She’s perfectly, endearingly human.
Pistachio tarator sauce! I’m really proud of this one. We got some lovely rosy fingerlings from the farm. I sliced them into thin wedges and roasted them until they were crispy, all pink and golden. And then I made this pretty green sauce to go with them. It has pistachio kernels, baby spinach, rosemary, sage and roasted garlic. Simple, but distinctive and very delicious. It’s creamy but it’s vegan. I roasted the garlic on the tray with the potatoes, but you could toast it in your toaster oven if you’re not making the potatoes. This would also be good with greens or any other roasted or fried vegetables, or even as a sauce for pasta or rice.
Here’s Herb Alpert’s Taste of Honey. It has nothing to do with this week’s movie, but for some reason I love the song and the video.