05 Apr

Fargo

“You’re darn tootin’!”

– Jerry Lundegaard

The Setup

André here. March 22nd was my birthday, so I got to pick the movie for my Birthday Super Munch. I decided to go with Fargo, since it’s one of my all-time favorite movies. It helped that I had just finished catching up on the TV show by the same name, and I was craving more Fargo-branded madness.

The Meal

Inspired by Norm’s early morning breakfast for Marge (the lead detective in the movie), we decided to make breakfast for dinner. It was something we had talked about doing for a long time, and finally we were given the opportunity to satisfy our love of breakfast foods.

We went for the classic lumberjack breakfast: just what you need to warm you up before a long day of solving crimes in the North Dakota cold. First, we cooked some hashbrowns, because no breakfast is truly complete without hashbrowns. We know fried fingerling potatoes are more trendy right now, but hashbrowns are always better, as long as you cook them right. Our secret is soaking the shredded potatoes in water before cooking to remove the excess starch. Oh and butter. Lots of butter.

Next, we fried up some Rain Shadow bacon. We have yet to find any bacon that tastes better than Rain Shadow bacon. Seriously. When you imagine bacon and its distinct smell and flavor, this is exactly that and so much more. It is hard not have a good day after eating some this bacon. Also, the fat it creates is perfect for frying a couple of sunny side up eggs. Yum.

Finally, we whipped up a batch of pancakes using Skillet’s recipe. These pancakes were top notch. They were light and fluffy the way pancakes should be, with a couple of spices in the mix to make it interesting.

With all this said and done, we were left with a breakfast worthy of being served in just about any diner and a perfect meal to warm you up on a cold winter morning.

For dessert, we attempted a double decker birthday pie. One was filled with raspberries, walnuts, and cherries, and the other was filled with chocolate cream. Like the botched kidnapping in Fargo, this pie wasn’t as easy to pull off as we initially thought it would be (not that we thought it would be easy). There were definitely some complications, and unfortunately, we lost one along the way. The chocolate pie leaked everywhere as soon as we removed it from the springform pan, so it didn’t exactly create the strong base we needed in order to stack a second pie on top of it.

Should you attempt the recipe yourself, we have some words of advice. It is a good idea to make sure your pie is completely cooked through and doesn’t just have the golden crust that the recipe mentions. The pies definitely needed more time in the oven. Second, the chocolate mixture (when cooked), is downright incredible. We have even talked about just making the chocolate filling by itself it was so good. Lastly, this double decker pie would have been soooooooo tasty if it had all come together. The sweet yet tart filling in the cherry pie balanced out the rich chocolate filling immaculately, and the crust holding it all together had a perfect buttery and flakey texture.

On the bright side, the raspberry, cherry, walnut pie turned out beautifully. We decorated it with some royal icing and topped it with some candles for my birthday. We have to admit we were still happy with the result, even if it wasn’t as impressive as a double-decker pie would have been.

The Drinks

We thought about doing plain mimosas to keep in line with the breakfast theme but thought, that blood oranges might be more appropriate given the amount of bloody scenes in the movie. We used Love and Lemon’s blood orange and bourbon recipe and were quite pleased with the results. The orange paired well with breakfast but the bourbon gave the drink a little more kick than you would get out of a mimosa. We imagined it as a friend to the mint julep that likes to wake up earlier and isn’t as sweet.

The Rules

  1. Drink whenever someone says “Jeez!”
  2. Drink whenever someone says “Heck!”
  3. Drink whenever someone says “Oh, sure.”

We have an alternate rule if you are up to a more treacherous path, plus this one is pretty simple: drink whenever someone says, “Yaaah.”

The Movie

I was nervous that, having watched the fantastic TV show, the movie Fargo would pale in comparison, but boy was I wrong. This movie holds up. It’s definitely a dark comedy, but it’s honestly one of the funniest movies that came out of the 90’s. While much of the humor from the “funny” films of that time period fall flat on modern ears, Fargo was ahead of its time. Sometimes it’s just an actor’s delivery that makes a scene funny, but more often than not, you find yourself laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation.

The whole movie is set up around a planned kidnapping, which goes wrong from the very start and continues to worsen as the clumsy criminals dig themselves deeper into a hole. Meanwhile, Marge Gunderson, the movie’s endearing, snarky, and smart-as-a-whip lead, slowly and methodically tracks them down. Frances McDormand won Best Actress for her portrayal of Marge, and I’ve got to say it was well deserved. She’s not just another genius cop, like you see on every police TV show. She is an incredibly normal person. We see her doing normal things in a normal way. She eats breakfast. She goes on an awkward date. She get’s Arby’s sauce on herself. All the while, she maintains a sweet, reassuring, cool-headed persona. Without a doubt, she’s the best part of this movie.

Impressively, the Coen brothers were able to pack this whole movie, consisting of fully developed characters, deliberate scenes, and more than enough violence, into just 97 minutes. Compared to the other films we have watched recently, this movie is over before you know it. It was the perfect amount of time for this film though, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. So many movies extend past the two hour mark that really don’t warrant it (we’re looking at you superhero films that are 150+ minutes long). Fargo knew what it wanted to do and it only needed 97 minutes to do it.

All in all, Fargo was a great movie. If you haven’t watched it yet, you should. Heck, I’ll even watch it with you. You betcha!

The Reviews

Andre: Wait, I have to do this again? Obviously I liked it. That’s why I picked it. And you already know what I liked about it because I wrote the main review. I’m not going to go over all of it again.

Leanna: Oh heck, I loved it. Fargo, like the first season of the TV show, does a great job of playing with your expectations and emotions throughout the film. You flip flop between who you’re actually rooting for, but in the end, the conclusion feels both inevitable, satisfying, and surprising all at once. It’s just a really well-told story.

Ben: 85%. Fargo is an incredibly solid movie that is equal parts beautiful and tense. It is not recommended for someone who is uncomfortable with shooting and kidnapping in films, but it is a solid movie all around. I can see the influence Fargo has had in many properties since it’s release, Pain & Gain being one of them, although not nearly as effective. This film is also a great case for why small, self-contained stories matter and are impressive. Not every piece of media needs to deal with world-destroying consequences. It is wonderful when you can engross yourself in the stories of people who don’t have a stake in what happens in the world. Give me more stories like this. I beg of you.

P.S. We’re going on a short hiatus for the rest of April. We’re in the process of moving kitchens homes and we’ll be back in May with some new material. In the meantime, stay in touch with us on Twitter and enjoy all of the additional food photos we have to offer on Instagram.