And the Oscar goes to…

No, you film afficianados and pop culture vultures didn’t miss anything. Cataplana isn’t a movie; it’s one of my absolute favorite things to eat. It’s a traditional Portuguese seafood stew and it’s rich, spicy and fabulous. I discovered it a while back when doing research for a book, which qualifies it as a happy accident. And oh, it makes me happy! I mean, look at it…

We served cataplana last night at our annual Oscar gathering, to the thundering applause of all.

My husband and I watched our first Academy Awards broadcast together in 1990. *blinks* Twenty-two years of Oscar watching. Time does fly. Since then, we’ve never missed the show. It was the first evening we spent alone together and at the time, we were just friends. I don’t think either of us had a clue that we’d ever be anything more, but that’s a story for another post. Or not. 😉

I’m not sure when good food and great wine came into the picture, though I do remember making fettucini alfredo that evening, and there might have been a bottle of low-end sauvignon blanc. (We were college kids, and I probably blew the bulk of the budget on the cream and fresh parmesan.)

Since then, our Oscar event has evolved to include another couple, more adventurous meals and some incredibly fine wine. It’s something we look forward to even when – as was the case this year – we haven’t seen more than two or three of the films in the running. Once upon a time, we’d have seen at least half of them, but kids complicate things. The films we’d seen this year were nominated in the animated film category, except for Harry Potter. Need I say more?

We did see the fabulous short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore courtesy of iTunes. I was totally rooting for it to win, and it did. Huzzah! If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here – but it’s only available for a short time, so don’t wait!

Why watch the Oscars if you haven’t seen the films, you ask? Because we’re not traditionalists in the typical regard, but this tradition goes back to the root of our relationship. Because we like the red carpet broadccase, and find the speeches entertaining and annoying in turn. Because the hosts are sometimes funny and the In Memorium segment is sad and sweet. Because we get to hang out with a couple that we don’t see nearly enough of during the year. And because we get to eat wonderful things, like cataplana.

This year, as a plus, we were treated to a performance by Cirque du Soleil, which was dazzling as always.

Are you an Oscar watcher or an Oscar hater? Do you have any traditions around the ceremony, or do you ignore it as much as possible? And – most importantly – have you ever tried cataplana? If not, you’re missing out!

Here’s the recipe we use if you want to have a go at it. It makes a lot, so we halved and it was the perfect amount for six. Don’t stint on the garlic bread; you’ll need it to soak up the brothy goodness.



11 responses to “And the Oscar goes to…

  1. Looks yummy! I’m always up for a new seafood stew, be it Bouillabaisse, Cioppino, or now, Cataplana. Thanks for this.

    As for the Oscars, many years ago my ex and I tuned in the night Dick Tracy with Warren Beatty was up for the Oscar and we realized we hadn’t seen ANY films that year. What did we do? We went to the movies and saw one of the first showings of Silence of the Lambs in a nearly empty theater. It was great. We sat where we wanted with no one to disturb us. Great night to go out!

  2. Lisa,
    How appropo that you write about Cataplana…I live in a Portuguese neighborhood and there was a restaurant with that name just down the street.
    I love watching the Oscars – why not? I love film, it’s a great way to find out about good movies and watch a spectacle.

  3. You know me – I’m a huge fan of the Oscars and have probably seen them every year for almost 30 years. And this year I’d seen almost all of the movies, made a concerted effort to do so, and it was great. I saw terrific movies and one terrible one – but I loved it. Because I’m a huge movie fan, I love sitting in the theatre with popcorn and a drink and being immersed. It’s a whole different experience than watching a movie on TV or VOD –


  4. I’ve loved movies all my life, I was nearly born in a movie theater. And I write screenplay. Of course I love the Oscars. And i thought Billy Crystal was MARVELOUS! And I have to try the Cataplana… I love good food almost as much as I love movies, the Oscars, and Good Scotch–especially dishes that include seafood.
    And what’s wrong with Super Heroes and animation, I love them most of all–wait, that’s wrong… Put Belva at the head of my list.

    My Moma didn’t raise no fools! 😉
    Great post, Lisa!

  5. The stew looks amazing. But I’m too tired from staying up late to watch to try and cook it.

    Got any leftovers you care to share with a friend?

  6. *laughs* I’m neither an Oscar hater or lover. I just simply can’t muster the energy to care about it. Though part of that probably has to do with not having cable TV for almost 15 years running I think.

    Good food and hanging out with friends though? That I’m down with. 😀


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