Food Bringing People Together
by Jalen Heyward
The Adventures of Food Boy (2008) is a Disney Channel Original Movie about a teenage boy who discovers he has the ability to generate food from his hands. This film displays how food can be used to bring people together and it shows food being used not only as nourishment for the body, but nourishment for social well being and relationships.
The main character, Ezra Chase, is a high school student who is trying to boost his resume for college applications. With his resume in mind,Ezra decides to run for class president. Ezra is quirky, nerdy and is often challenged into eating outrageous and disgusting food combinations by his “friends”. Some of the other students doubt Ezra will win class president because no one knows him, however he believes that he can win. Ezra campaigns by conducting food challenges and eating bizarre foods in the cafeteria to make a name for himself. When the time for campaign speeches arrive, Ezra starts to notice physical changes. Ezra notices that his hands smell like food at random times and that he can shoot food out of his hands. While giving out his campaign speech, he starts to shoot pastrami out of his hands uncontrollably, hitting his opponent and members of the audience. Ezra immediately runs into the bathroom and starts to shoot out mustard, bread and ketchup. The crowd find his speech hilarious and cheer him on as flees the stage.
Initially Ezra is flabbergasted about his ability and cannot control what type of food is made from his hands, however a day passes since his incident and his Grandmother gives him an explanation. Ezra learns that him and his grandmother both share this food making gift and she explains that the gift has been passed down for generations. People with this gift have been at the center of advances of food and recipes for thousands of years. She gives many examples of figures in history who had the gift including, August Corpus who was the first person to make sense of making edible items from his hands by introducing cooked meat. She also gives an example of a pharaoh with the gift who created beans and rice on the same place, creating a revolutionary method of eating for the poor. His grandmother aspires to be impactful and extraordinary with her gift just like their ancestors and encourages Ezra to do the same. Ezra considers this gift to only be useful for late night snacks and fears that it will interfere with his academic career in college. Eventually Ezra practices utilizing his gift and impresses his friends and peers, creating a new reputation for himself. His gift and new gained popularity starts to make his social life and academic life spiral out of control and he learns that he has a chance to give up his gift.
Ezra’s thought of giving up this gift was changed by an elderly man who takes him in to practice his gift. The elderly man instructs Ezra to create ingredients for a meal that he will prepare. Ezra tastes the meal and it is surprisingly good and when he is told that it is oatmeal he is astonished. The elderly man states “Even oatmeal prepared properly, can be a feast”. He explains to Ezra that he once had the gift but lost it because he did not use it. He regrets not using his gift and tries to convince Ezra to not make the same mistake.
The end of the movie results in an altercation between Ezra and Garrett, his campaign opponent. Garrett taunts Ezra by throwing food at him eventually causing a gigantic food fight in the cafeteria. Garrett and Ezra are called to the principal’s office where they are questioned. Garrett keeps denying that he started the food fight. Eventually Ezra realizes that Garrett needs the presidency more than he does and he lies about starting the food fight in order to put an end to their rivalry and disagreements.
Overall Ezra’s ability to create food and the food he produced transformed his reputation from being a zero into the school hero that everyone admired. The students’ admiration of him and his food can be juxtaposed to society’s admiration for food in general. Even before Ezra knew about his gift, eating bizarre foods was the foundation of his friendships. Ezra’s contribution with the gift includes temporarily obliterating the social divide between stereotypical groups within his high school as he brings people from all different backgrounds to support talent. It is also ironic how a food fight is what brings Ezra and Garrett closer together as well. His ability to create food also strengthens his relationship with his friends and his grandmother as they practiced utilizing their gifts together. Ezra’s gift with food and the use of food in general also improves his social well-being because throughout the film he learns the importance of developing talents and using them wisely, the importance of staying true to oneself, and the importance of treating others with kindness and respect.
Nothing brings people together like good food, and because Ezra could produce it from his hands, community and synergy within his school were bound to happen!