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Dishing out Family Drama: India Sweets and Spices & Eat with Me

10 May

The family table can be both a source of connection and a source of drama; here are two picks that prove that point; which are representative as we recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Click on the links to learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and the Hoboken Library’s events celebrating it.

India Sweets and Spices
India Sweets and Spices is about Alia, played charmingly by Sophia Ali, an UCLA student, who returns home from school to her Indian family in a wealthy NJ community and finds herself at odds with her parents and her Aunties’ visions of her future. The movie is broken up in to chapters following different lavish parties being held in her family’s social circle. As she finds romance with a local shop keeper’s son (their store provides the title of the movie), she discovers some buried family secrets from the past and present. I found the movie both touching and funny. I also could relate to both Alia who is wanting to break free from the small town of her childhood, but also Alia’s mother, played with complexity by Manisha Koirala, who is looking back at her own dreams that she deferred to make a better life for her children. Those hungering for more Indian family drama may want to check out 1999’s Chutney Popcorn about a woman whose girlfriend breaks up with her after she agrees to be a surrogate for her sister’s child.

Eat with Me
Eat with Me is a comedy-drama from 2014 about a gay chef, Eliot, and his mother who become closer leading up to the possible foreclosure of the Chinese restaurant inherited from another family member. Elliot, played by Teddy Chen Culver, is just beginning a new relationship, while his mother, played by Sharon Omi, has just separated from Eliot’s father and come to live with him. This is a charming story of acceptance and building bridges through food. Always a favorite of mine, George Takai has a small role in the film and Nicole Sullivan provides a lot of laughs as Eliot’s quirky neighbor who befriends his serious mom. If you enjoy this film you may also want to check out The Wedding Banquet another touching film centered around a gay son and his Chinese family. Stay tuned for our May 31 picks for two romance novels perfect for Pride Month.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

Solve Your Entertainment Cravings!

6 Jul

Don’t choose something bland for your “TV Dinner,” instead spice things up with a variety of great movies, documentaries, TV shows, and ebooks!

A Taste of Hunger
A foodie couple is willing to do anything to earn their popular Copenhagen restaurant a Michelin star in A Taste of Hunger.  The movie dramatically jumps back and forth in time; the different segments are defined by symbolic techniques or tastes that when combined make a dish successful such as sweet, salt, and heat, but that may not lead to a successful home life.  Their marriage and family suffer as the restaurants reputation grows. 

Looking for something a little lighter?  Check out No Reservations which stars Catherine Zeta-Jones in the remake of the popular German Comedy, Bella Martha, where an elite chef learns when she becomes her niece’s guardian that there is more to life than work in the kitchen.

Her Name is Chef
Her Name is Chef is a documentary focusing on 6 talented female chefs and the obstacles they overcame to find success in the kitchen.  Her Name is Chef is hosted by NJ chef, Leia Gaccione, who appeared on this season of Top Chef.  Particularly moving is the story-line following Fatima Ali another Top Chef favorite from an earlier season whose battle with cancer is chronicled and adds a bit of bitter with the sweet of her success. 

If you are looking for a second helping of documentaries, Hoopla offers the Japanese documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi about an 85 year old whose restaurant in a subway station was the first of its kind to win three Michelin stars.

Mexico: One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless
Successful Mexican Chef, Rick Bayless travels around Mexico and learns more about the people, traditions and of course the cuisine.  He then puts his own spin on authentic dishes.  I enjoyed watching Oaxaca’s Most Magical Holiday (season 9, episode 1) which focused on the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos).  He shows the different types of traditional bone shaped breads that are prepared and goes step by step through his own version.  

Looking for more Mexican recipes you can prepare?  Check out Craftsy’s Mexican Street Food: Tacos & Salsas series which explains everything you need to make delicious tacos including making your own tortillas in bite sized videos!

The Romance Recipe
by Ruby Barrett
Sophie, a former reality show competitor, has just gotten out of a relationship with a man who asked her to hide her bisexuality, now for the first time she finds herself truly falling for a woman, Amy, the owner of the restaurant where she is head chef. Amy also feels attracted to Sophie, but besides navigating the complexities of their relationship there is also the failing restaurant to contend with. I appreciated the positive and fully developed depictions of bisexual and lesbian characters in this sweet romance, and enjoyed the juicy behind the scenes drama of reality shows that the novel depicts. I fell in love with the advance copy I was provided by eGalley and the publisher.

The Romance Recipe debuts next week, till then the perfect appetizer is book one in the series, Hot Copy, that feature’s Amy’s brother and his workplace romance with Corrine. You can also check out my previous blog post about two other lesbian/bisexual focused foodie competition romances.

Still hungry for more; check out a previous foodie blog about Chef centered TV shows and one on foodie memoirs!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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