Food stuff


A few months ago, I mentioned food in novels. Some readers reminded me not to overlook food scenes in movies. Joanne Mollica recommended Eat Drink Man Woman (1994). Of course, I wouldn’t miss it, or the many other films with wonderful food scenes.

As a story about a chef and his three adult daughters, Eat Drink Man Woman emphasizes family love through food. Director Ang Lee not only displays the art of Chinese cooking in this movie, but also uses food to imply the relationships between characters.

The father, who was a master chef in Taipei’s famous Grand Hill Hotel, cooks classical Chinese dishes. His third daughter works at Wendy’s. Their professions suggest the gap between two generations.

If you like onions and Mexican food, you cannot miss Like Water for Chocolate (1993). This romantic film is about a woman, Tita, who was born and grew up in a kitchen. As the youngest daughter, family tradition dictates that Tita cannot get married, so her lover marries Tita’s sister to be near her. Therefore, Tita puts all her love into cooking. When someone asks for her special recipes, she always replies, "You should cook with much love."

Because of her strong love, Tita’s food has dramatic effects. The cake she makes for her lover’s and sister’s wedding makes the guests feel her sadness – they’re unable to stop crying. In this film, food is more like magic.

Not all food scenes in films are related to happiness or romance. The Korean movie 301/302 is a food-related thriller about two women: One lives in suite 301, the other lives in 302. The first woman loves food and is a good cook. She tried to use food to save her marriage, but still wound up divorced. The second woman hates food and has an eating disorder caused by the terrible memory of being raped by her butcher stepfather.

The two women’s attitudes toward food also imply their different attitudes toward life. Therefore, the food scenes in this movie are sometimes delicious, sometimes disgusting. If you like this kind of food movie, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1990) is another good choice.

You can also enjoy food scenes in action movies. Hong Kong kung fu star Jackie Chan played a chef in Mr. Nice Guy (1997). In this film, his cooking action is just as beautiful as his action when he beats the bad guys.

And then there are other classic food films you must see: Babette’s Feast (1987), Big Night (1995), La Grande Bouffe (1973), and Tampopo (1986).

However, when you’re watching these films, I don’t think popcorn and chips will be good enough.–Yu-Ru Lee


See the donut shop of the future at the recently renovated Dunkin’ Donuts in Farmington Hills (31080 Orchard Lake Rd.). It’s the flagship for the chain’s new remodeling project, which will imbue the stores with spiffy lighting, nicer seats and a more, well, Starbucky feeling. … Looking for a waitstaff gig? Check out, a new Web site that lets you apply for hundreds of restaurant openings across the state and country from the comfort of your own computer.