Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy

I didn’t know Diana Kennedy until I saw this documentary. I don’t even like Mexican food, of which she is the 97-year-old doyenne but she makes it fascinating, as is her own story, told by film maker Elizabeth Carroll.

It’s amazing that this clipped, tiny woman from Essex is the authority on the regional cuisines of Mexico and we watch her buzz around the markets berating stall holders if their produce isn’t up to authentic scratch  “No no, hay colorantes…” she tuts, pointing at a particularly orange sausage.

She’s a fascinating subject, for sure, and her no-nonsense approach to filming matches her stickler style cooking, which might look all thrown together but, as we find out, is meticulously researched and authenticated.

In the end that’s what the film’s about, authenticity, being true to your own path and character, much as it is in making food the traditional way. The food still looks a bit mushy to me and i’m never good with beans however, the layers of flavour and the culinary care here would convince me there’s more to Mexican food than I’ve yet found. More importantly, the film uncovers and pays tribute to an extraordinary person and her passion.