Thursday, 6 May 2010

Paul Newman, Newman's Own One Two Thousand Island Dressing

And so it comes to pass that, for the first time, COP turns its eyes to a celebrity who has shuffled off this mortal coil, so apologies if I speak ill of the dead.

For a self-confessed cinephile, I haven't seen many Paul Newman films. As a Hitchock fan, I have seen Torn Curtain, the Cold War thriller in which Newman stars alongside Julie Andrews. I'm sure someone decided Butch Cassidy and Mary Poppins were a combination for surefire romantic chemistry, but they're certainly not Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade, Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief or Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North By Northwest. Cary Grant and anyone, really.

Actually, I rather like The Towering Inferno, which to some extent is remembered as the McQueen/Newman film, in the same way that Heat is the De Niro/Pacino film and What Happens In Vegas is the Kutcher/Diaz film. But is it McQueen/Newman or Newman/McQueen? The poster clearly tells us that it's actually more of a diagonal relationship, with, in both name and picture, Newman above McQueen, but McQueen to the left of Newman.

Not only this, but they also have the exact same number of lines in the film. These lengths taken to ensure shared top billing were rather apt as the film was a co-production between two major studios. It's this kind of behaviour though that would have had everyone involved blacklisted during the McCarthy era.

Newman was on Nixon's official Enemies list and generally a Democrat supporter, and therefore not a 'baddie'. There's nothing worse than finding out that the likes of Kelsey Grammer, Tom Selleck or Vicent Gallo are Republicans and, as a result, never being able to watch Frasier, Magnum P.I. or that scene in Brown Bunny where Chloe Sevigny actually gives Vincent Gallo a blowjob in the same way again.

In the early '80s, Newman co-founded the Champ Car racing team Newman/Haas, and a range of salad dressings, Newman's Own. Since the beginning, Newman gave all after-tax profits to charity, a business model that I cannot fault. Bottles proudly state that over $250 million has been donated since 1982, and it's nice to know that some of the COP overheads can help the less privileged.

You might wonder why this dressing is called Two Thousand Island (with One crossed out on the label). At first I thought this might be one of those references to the turn of the millennium that now seem amusingly quaint, but I guess it's because, as the label boasts, it "has twice as many islands as any other brand!" By 'islands' they mean the little bits of gherkin and tomatoes in the sauce, an archipelago of fruits masquerading as vegetables. I can't really vouch for their claim though, it's pretty tricky to gauge a islands-to-sauce ratio without the relevant equipment. It's a bit far to expect that this dressing is thus twice as good as your common-or-garden Thousand Island, but it is solidly good, and the chilli lends it a nice tang.

Paul Newman: 8/10
Two Thousand Island Dressing: 8/10
Total: 16/20

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