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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

Animated Fun for Everyone from Hoopla and the Cartoon Network

7 Jul

Looking for some cute cartoons the whole family will enjoy to watch together this summer?  Hoopla has a variety of shows available from Cartoon Network including everything from the Powerpuff Girls to Ben 10.  I wanted to take a look at five of my favorites (and yes childfree adults who love animation will enjoy them too).

Amazing World of Gumball
The Amazing World of Gumball is one of my son’s favorite shows, but for Gen X and Millennial Parents there are plenty of hip references (everything from music videos to the Golden Girls) for you to enjoy while watching with your kids. Gumball will appeal to fans of The Simpsons with its loving but dysfunctional family, but what makes it unique is an interesting look that merges different styles of animation from traditional hand drawn to stop motion.

We Bare Bears
We Bare Bears stars a talking grizzly bear, polar bear, and panda bear as they go on adventures and cause trouble in the human world around the San Francisco Bay Area.  Their nemesis of course is a famous koala bear.  Some episodes flashback to when the bears were young cubs and first became friends often with touching moments that will resonate for those who have also created their own found families.

Steven Universe
Steven Universe is about a half human/half alien boy and the Crystal Gems who are guardians of humanity.  The show is often embraced for showing that super heroes can have diverse body types and love comes in many forms (it was the first animated series to win a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Kids & Family Program in 2019).  For Halloween one year, my family dressed up like Steven and his parents Greg and Rose Quartz.

Adventure Time
One of my favorite shows from Cartoon Network, Adventure Time, stars Finn, one of the last humans, in a post-apocalyptic world  featuring a candy kingdom, an ice king, and my personal favorite- a guitar playing vampire queen.  Finn’s loyal side kick is Jake, a dog with magical powers.  You can check out my previous Adventure Time post when I was discussing Fan Fiction. If you like your high fantasy with a helping of quirky surrealism than check this one out.

Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy
What if the Grim Reaper was one of your besties?  Shenanigans occur on both sides of the spirt world when Billy and Mandy befriend the coolest Grim Reaper around in the Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.  Looking for more gothy cartoon fare; also checkout Canadian fave Ruby Gloom which is also available from Hoopla.

What are your favorite family friendly cartoons? Share them in our comments!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

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