This Famous Ratatouille Scene Lied To You

You don't necessarily watch Pixar for the realistic depiction of the universe. If you do, you shouldn't drive a car. However, Pixar's "Ratatouille" managed to impress the likes of Anthony Bourdain with its depiction of the restaurant industry. "It's a measure of how deficient Hollywood has been in making an accurate restaurant-food based film that far and away the best was about an animated rat," he commented to Entertainment Weekly in 2011. 

However, the film suffers from one big mistake or, more accurately, a misnomer. Technically speaking, "Ratatouille" doesn't feature the dish ratatouille. As Grub Street explains, the movie's apparently eponymous dish is instead a vegetable byaldi. That's because Remy is based on the American chef Thomas Keller and his restaurant, French Laundry, which serves byaldi instead of ratatouille. "It has the same flavor profile as ratatouille, so it was a natural," Thomas Keller told Grub Street. Obviously, byaldi is not a dish that lends itself to rat-punning titles, so it had to be substituted. Otherwise, we would've spent the entire runtime wondering why we were watching a rat. 

What is byaldi?

You might wonder to what extent Pixar dared to take liberties with byaldi. According to the Los Angeles Times, the differences are actually marginal: "You could also say quite rightly that byaldi is nothing more than a fancy-pants ratatouille." It's actually a bit more than that because the name comes from a Turkish dish called imam bayildi, which means stuffed eggplant (via the San Francisco Chronicle). Furthermore, Just As Delish says that, unlike ratatouille, byaldi does not fry the vegetables before baking and requires thin slices instead of thick chunks.

However, like ratatouille, byaldi doesn't present too many complications for the home cook. In Just As Delish's adaptation of Thomas Keller's recipe, they use red bell peppers, olive oil, garlic, yellow onions, tomatoes, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves for a piperade. It also includes a Basque tomato sauce for lining the bottom of the tray. Afterward, you place thin slices of green and yellow zucchini, eggplant, and more tomatoes on top. Then, you bake it and add a vinaigrette. 

While no doubt a delicious dish, "Ratatouille" may have further stretched the truth with Remy becoming the greatest chef in France based on this one meal. But, then again, the film is called "Ratatouille."