Flower Foodies

Both down with colds, my husband and I brought in the New Year watching the original Diary of a Chambermaid. This is the 1946 Jean Renoir film (Bunuel did a remake in 1964 with Jean Moreau). There are a few great food scenes in the movie, but the most memorable is certainly that in which Burgess Meredith, as the disturbingly loony Captain Mauger, starts chomping his neighbors' roses. (Full scene containing rose-eating can be found here).

Later, the Captain explains his food philosophy to Celestine, the beautiful chambermaid (played by Paulette Goddard), as she feigns fascination:
"Everybody in the world except me gets into a rut about food. They have no pioneering spirit. Possibly the first man who ate an oyster, they called him crazy or eccentric. Now the same with me. I've discovered new foods that nobody ever heard of before. I'm willing to eat absolutely anything. Keeps me young and vigorous."
The startling image of an older eccentric eagerly gobbling a rose was possibly borrowed by Agnes Varda in her amazing L'Opera Mouffe (1958). That film deserves its own post (I'm working on it), but here is a salient clip in gif animation form, created by Hristos, via his flickr channel (click on gif for best quality).

Harpo munching on some buckwheat flowers (from Cocoanuts)


  1. There is something delightfully silly about people merrily eating things that they are not supposed to such as shoes or roses. The greatest cmic eater of things had to be Harpo Marx, though. Maybe a clip of his phone eating scene from the Coconuts would be a good one to add here, since it is the first one of many.

  2. You're so right about Harpo. He's the funniest non-food eater. It's hard to find that Cocoanuts clip, though. I've looked for it. I always wonder what they used for the phone (some kind of black candy?).


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