Homemade pancakes, Woody Allen and robots

When Katie Filion lived with us for a few months before setting off for graduate work in New Zealand, Amy and I would tell the 22-year-old, "‘oh, you should see this movie" – insert Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Wonderboys, or even more modern fare like Napoleon Dynamite – at which point she would politely recoil. Maybe she found our movies … old.

However, Katie did confess she now misses my homemade-from-scratch buckwheat pancakes with berries.

Have I got a movie for Katie.

Woody Allen’s 1973 classic, Sleeper, when the director was at a more, uh, slapstick stage of his career, features Allen as Miles Monroe, a jazz musician and health-food store owner living in Manhattan in 1973, who is cryogenically frozen without his consent, and not revived for 200 years. When Miles is arrested as a counterrevolutionary, he escapes by disguising himself as a robot, the kind frequently used in the future for mundane chores like cooking.

Maybe the Japanese like Woody Allen more than the French like Jerry Lewis because various prototype robo-chefs showed off their cooking skills at the International Food Machinery and Technology Expo in Tokyo last week, flipping Japanese pancakes, serving sushi and slicing vegetables.

Narito Hosomi, president of Toyo Riki, manufacturers of the pancake-cooking robot, which was apparently based on me, said,

"We all know that robots can be very useful. We want to take that utility out of the factory so that they can be used elsewhere.”

I have to agree, Katie. While clever, Sleeper is slow.