Monday, April 25, 2011

Ethnic Food in the Movies

If you enjoy lots of flavor in your people, parties, activities and food, you've got to like ethnic meals. Color, spice, texture and energy---that's what we're talking about. Thai dishes are my favorite, of course, thanks to my Thai blood. But then there's Indian, Nepali, Chinese, Mexican, Vietnamese, Italian, Spanish. Most are lush and healthy, which is kinda my mantra. Sparkling wine is a happy match.
I think movies can totally get you in the mood for joyous ethnic eating. Have you seen these tasty culinary jewels? (via netflix.)






Makes you want to stop by the fruit stand and local Asia/Mexican/Italian market and start the rice pot boiling....


Candi said...

Loved Like Water for Chocolate. I also loved the movies Chocolate, and Babette's Feast. I'm sure there are others...

Paul Penna said...

My name is Paul, and I'm a Food Outsider. One of the many ways I've been characterized as either a weirdo or an iconoclast, depending on the spin you want to put on it, is my lifelong aversion to a plethora of flavors others can appreciate and even rejoice in. I must remain silent while friends wax rhapsodic over the virtues of whatever exotic, and even many palate-numbingly mundane cuisines to which they are partial. I have to clandestinely sniff unfamiliar or questionably-colored buffet offerings at potluck affairs. I must endure exasperated sighs and eye-rollings whenever I'm asked for input regarding restaurant choices. This isn't about not being a Foodie, it's about just being able to keep the stuff down.

I've heard all the theories, suppositions and downright certainties offered to explain this condition of mine. I term it a "condition" advisedly - most people call it being finicky. But while I'm not claiming to be a victim of some new three-letter syndrome, there is evidence to indicate that a physiological condition predisposed me to develop as I have. "Supertaster" is the term generally used for this, and results from differences in the quantity and quality of taste buds on one's tongue. Published lists of the kinds of flavors that turn supertasters off closely parallel my personal litany of ucky things.

But there's nature and there's nurture. There are two ways mothers deal with finicky eaters: either through badgering and forced-feedings or by giving up and giving in. In my case, I went through both, the former after many years finally giving way to the latter. So I was hit with a double-whammy of conditioning: foods I hated became associated with parental trauma, then avoidance of them with blessed relief.

I did overcome some childhood food taboo conditioning. For example, tomato sauce eventually lost its association with my mother's bell pepper-infused Spanish rice and ceased inducing a gag reflex, so she no longer had to prepare a separate portion of spaghetti for me with just butter and cheese on it. Nevertheless, the wide range of flavors I find unpalatable continues to bewilder, exasperate and, lets face it, amuse my circle of acquaintances.

And that's the thing that people just don't get: it's not that I merely dislike certain things, it's that I find them literally unpalatable. They cause revulsion. I gag on them. Think of that container of green fuzzy stuff you discover at the back of your refrigerator; now think of having to eat it. Or take a whiff of your garbage can. Would you eat something that smelled like that? Get the picture?

But since you admit that there's much learned behavior in all this, why not unlearn it? That's the implicit question behind the eye-rolling. To which I respond: how many bell pepper (and all its capiscum relations) ingestions before I stop upchucking and start to love them? How many bowls of clam chowder must I attempt to force down before it becomes nectar to my senses? Why, at this point in my life, should I go through all that, and for what unpredictable result and uncertain benefit? Think that over. Meanwhile, I'm gonna have some mac 'n' cheese.