A friend challenged me the other day on the huge amounts of money I was (in her view) throwing down the drain visiting restaurants, writing about them, and getting absolutely nothing from anybody in return.
"Well, I get some nice meals", I said.
"Not all the time. Sometimes you get a really bad meal, and you still have to pay for it. Why don't you find a more profitable hobby?"
"Hobbies aren't supposed to be profitable," I replied. "They're supposed to be expensive, pointless and socially damaging. You bankrupt yourself, waste countless hours blogging about restaurants you'll never visit again, and alienate and bemuse your friends.... No offense."
Occasionally though, there are perks. Last night I was invited to a screening of Pixar's latest film Ratatouille with a group of London food bloggers led by the esteemed Silverbrow. Being a bit new to the blogging game I was first of all pathetically grateful to have been invited and turned up far too early, and also incredibly nervous. But everyone was very nice, it was very much fun putting faces to names (or anonymous nom de plume) and we got free drinks.
The film itself was a stunning achievement in animation and storytelling and a delight to watch from start to finish. Being a Pixar film (tick) starring a talking animal (tick) about haute cuisine (tick tick tick) I knew I'd enjoy it, but even so I was blown away by the sheer flourishing joy of the visuals. The sequence where our rodent hero first guides his voluntary human puppet (long story) around the kitchen to prepare his signature soup was a masterpiece of visual comedy.
I was worried that after the rather so-so "Cars" that Pixar might have lost their touch, so this was a welcome return to form. Ratatouille is everything you'd want from a family film, and I can recommend it wholeheartedly. It's released in the UK 12th October.