Let's be real. Many of us have thought about that hypothetical moment of tragedy where, one day, after a freak accident—being caught in an avalanche or getting lost at sea—we find ourselves in a disgusting predicament: Do I eat the dead guy next to me to survive?
Foodie, a new short film written by Durham resident Eryk Pruitt, bypasses the idea of cannibalism as an uneasy survival tactic. Instead, the 29-minute dark comedy-horror flick explores an obsessive, underground sect of foodies who dine on humans in the most gourmet and trendy of manners.
Pruitt launched his food career as a pizza-delivery driver to earn money for college. Now his repertoire includes years of experience as the general manager of Blu Seafood in Durham; he currently manages Sitti in Raleigh. He carried on a sarcastic, twisted conversation about cannibalism and barbecue while eating a schnitzel sandwich at Capital Club 16.
Independent Weekly: With this movie, were you trying to make fun of a trend or did you immediately think of a horror film with a food theme?
Pruitt: I love horror films—Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock-type horror rather than Saw or Friday the 13th. And as a restaurant manager, you get bombarded with the foodies and their questions. They want to know where everything is from. You get bombarded with everyone's crazy diets. You get into arguments over what wine gets paired with this or that. You're just supposed to be enjoying your meal. The quote we originally used was to paraphrase Socrates, where he says, "Beware of the man who lives to eat, as opposed to a man who eats to live." I think you'll know a little bit of somebody in every character of the film. There are the snooty wine fanatics. The food blogger. There are the crazy chefs using all the crazy cuts of meat, like offal. The hipster bartender.
Why the title Foodie?
I've always associated that as a bad term. Nobody that really cares about what they eat or where their food comes from refers to themselves as foodies.
Would you ever eat a human, if it was do or die?
I'm scared to answer that.
You can think about it for a minute.
That's kind of the point of the movie. It's this logical progression with the evil foodies out there constantly getting so militaristic on what they eat. We have to eat the whole hog, the innards and everything. It seems there would be this logical progression at one point where they'd be like, "All right, now we've exhausted every obscure cut of meat and every strange cooking technique there is. The only thing left to do is humans." And in the information I found [about cannibalism]—the Donner Party, the Uruguayan plane crash—you would think that someone would have mentioned, as sick as the Internet is, how the humans were prepared. Were they braised? Smoked? What kind of wood did they use? They kept the records of it, but they never talked about how they cooked these people. And that's what I think is a tragedy.
And you said you researched with Triangle chefs?
I talked to four Durham chefs. I'm not gonna name them. But I asked, "What kind of person do you think would taste the best? What part of the human would you eat?" And all these guys would say, "Oh, definitely the ribs." "You wanna get a guy that's not too athletic." "You wanna get a guy that's in his teens." To where they describe this perfect person that they would eat, and then what wine they would pair them with.
And what wine would you pair a person with?
Oh, I'd probably go with a tempranillo. But it depends on where the person's from and what they've been eating. Like you're Greek. I'd pair a white wine with you.
What? Why, because of my garlic-infused flesh?
Yeah. Or maybe a nice rosé.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Waiter, this arm is overcooked."