I have to admit that I'm very much looking forward to my Life This Week feature this year. Think of all the great movies I'll get to watch--1939 is often hailed as one of the best years (if not the best year) in filmmaking. Well, The Dawn Patrol isn't quite Gone with the Wind, but how could I resist after seeing this ad in the January 2nd issue of Life magazine? January 2, 1939, that is.
Looks exciting, right? I even convinced Paul to watch it with me because it's about, like, airplanes and stuff. I think he definitely enjoyed the movie more than I did. Not that I wasn't entertained, I just wasn't that interested in all the aerial warfare. I'm really not much on war movies in general, but this one's not bad and it makes up for it with lots of Errol Flynn and David Niven (along with Donald Crisp and Basil Rathbone).
If you couldn't tell from the poster, The Dawn Patrol is about the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. When the film begins, the commanding officer of the 59th squadron, Major Brand (Rathbone), is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He's losing several pilots every mission and the replacements HQ sends have less and less training. Plus, he has to attempt to reign in Captain Courtney (Flynn) and Lieutenant Scott (Niven). Not an enviable job!
Stills from TCM
Since the action of The Dawn Patrol takes place in France, I made a recipe that's originally from Normandy (although I found the recipe in The National Trust Farmhouse Cookbook). I just love apples and pork together! Since I don't plan out my vegetables in advance and I just buy what looks good, I served my escalopes with a rather un-French roasted sweet potato.
Escalopes de porc à la normande
2 (4 ounce) boneless pork chops, pounded to 1/4-inch "escalopes"
1 1/2 tablespoons barley flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brandy
1/4 cup hard cider
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Dredge the pork in the seasoned flour. Put the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam starts to subside, add the pork and cook two minutes per side, then remove to a warm plate.
Deglaze the skillet with the brandy and cider, then add the apple slices and boil until the volume of the liquid is quartered. Stir in the cream, then add the pork and any juices back to the pan and adjust seasoning.
Adapted from "Escalopes of Pork with Apples and Cider" in Laura Mason, The National Trust Farmhouse Cookbook (London: National Trust Books, 2009), 101.
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