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Philosophy Tuesday

December 1, 2015

This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

To complete my Ratatouille trifecta…

I love the pivotal scene in Ratatouille and how it works and can be gotten on a couple of levels.

At a basic reading, when Ego takes a bite and is transported back to memories of his youth, the story works perfectly fine if you leave simply at that: He is reminded of his youth and mother’s cooking and is therefore overjoyed and won over by the food. Hooray!

But I’d say the real pivotal scene happens after that flashback. The real profound moment is one of transformation, found in the symbolism of the pen dropping from his fingers and hitting the floor.

What Ego got in that moment of tasting the ratatouille was not only a memory of his youth, but a remembrance of a time when he was able to simply enjoy food as food. When his love of food was truly an unencumbered love. Before it became part of his identity.

Ego’s whole relationship to food had become one of the ultimate critic – the truth speaker – inside of which he could only interact with food in ways that fit that world and as part of his reputation.  His creation, this identity he crafted and presented those around him, was tightly wrapped up around a particular and narrow realm and view of food. He could only like certain things. He could only behave in certain ways. He was robbed of the pleasures of food. His experience of food was automatically and entirely filtered through this construct.

It was entirely stifling.

In that moment of tasting Remy’s dish, a moment of revelation wherein he saw what all this identity was costing him. It had its payoffs, for sure, but there were also many costs. And in that moment, sitting face to face with those costs, he let it go. The pen and identity of “Anton Ego, the critic of food” was let go, and the love, his love, of food for food’s sake returned.

It was a transformation, with freedom regained and good food gourmand returned.

(Some previous Ratatouille quotes/posts here and here…)

3 comments

  1. I think that’s an excellent read of the scene; I have to admit I didn’t catch the significance of Ego dropping the pen, but it’s sound.

    One of the things we tend to do — with almost anything we invest ourselves deeply into — is build a monument of knowledge about the subject. While that monument is certainly impressive in its own right, it separates us from the pure, unfiltered connection that made us so excited about the thing in the first place.

    I think that’s one of the reasons I love stories that can make me forget about the artifice of the tale for a while, and I can connect directly to the emotional conduit that framework is directing. Those moments where we’re able to let go of our thoughts about an experience and simply bask in it are sacred. The fact that Remy’s ratatouille was able to cut through the grand, imposing barrier of Ego’s vast knowledge and connect him directly to the emotional experience was a triumph. :)


    • Ooooooo, yes. That bastion of knowledge that can so easily become the thing we relate to, rather than the thing itself. As one philosopher put it “You end up eating the menu.” (… a quote that works surprisingly well here in this context :P)

      I’m totally with you on those stories that are so well told that the telling goes away and where I’m present only to the experience! And when we can do that in our broader lives and just be fully in the moment. Wonderful.

      Thank you!


  2. […] took me equally by storm oh those so many years ago. And, while I loved me my Pixar films, even Ratatouille and Wall-E didn’t have me this obsessed. Given I saw TLK in the theatre some 8+ times, who […]



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