My son and husband write a film blog for fun, and sometimes my daughter and I join them watching the classics. Recently we all were swept away by Satyajit Ray’s trilogy, “The World of Apu.” They are soon to post a joint review on their blog, and I felt called to join in. This is what I wrote: not quite a proper film review, not quite a proper food blog. Something in between, with a culinary record of how I wanted to celebrate the beauty of this stunning work.
“Pather Panchali” is a transfixing film with a plot that unfolds around carefully revealed characters and personalities, and big themes like love, loss, kindness and pettiness , meanness and generosity, being young and growing old. The Ravi Shankar soundtrack gives constant goosebumps; the cinematography is both sweeping -exploring landscapes, monsoons, the rural industry of electricity and railroads – and intimate: an old woman’s skin, domestic architecture, facial expressions of joy, anxiety, and grief. The acting never feels like acting, the plotlines never scripted, the observations never didactic. It feels to me the most perfect film ever, not least for how I wept towards the end in a state of total lack of separation from the fact of watching a film: I was there, I was “her” in this scene, feeling a mother’s despair at the loss of a child, in this case Djurga, whom the film viewer has watched grow and come to love.
Because the film observes life so carefully and directly, food culture of course becomes central, and I enjoyed this aspect very much. Read the rest of this entry »
Please listen to this story about two little pieces of chocolate in Bergen-Belsen. “We’ll keep this for a day when you… really need help,” Francine’s mother had said to her. Read the rest of this entry »
Pouring through the marvellous Groundnut Cookbook, I found a scratch to my long-time Horchata itch. Here they’d offered a Nigerian recipe for a Tiger Nut Milk called Kunnu which is similarly delicious, filling and refreshing..
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Macaroni Bechamel معكرونة بشاميل
Gaza is often in my mind as much as it is in the news, largely because I act as “mentor” to two brilliant young women, university students who participate in We Are Not Numbers. This project at its most basic seeks to share with the world the extraordinary resilience, brilliance, individuality, personality, and capabilities of Gaza’s young people, many of whose options are extremely limited by the realities of the occupation.
Truly one of the joyful, meaningful aspects of my life these days is the opportunity to get to know these young women, through chatting and corresponding on line, helping, encouraging, editing, enjoying their idiosyncatic and profoundly grown-up takes on the world. Read the rest of this entry »
We Are Not Numbers is a project of Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights and seeks to give young writers in Gaza a platform to broadcast their voices. I contacted them to offer my blog to share food-related posts, knowing food sustainability and sovereignty to be so multifaceted and challenging in Gaza and Palestine in general, from the brilliant book The Gaza Kitchen, discussed here. WANN’s director, Pam Bailey, responded, yes please, and would I like as well to be a mentor to two young women, both 19, both university students, coaching and encouraging them on their writing? Though I don’t think of myself as a writer, I do think of myself as a friendly, helpful person, and so I agreed– and “chatting” with them on line, corresponding, reading their work, commenting, learning about their lives, has become a real joy in my life. I am truly impressed by their intelligence, depth, humour, and capacity to read, write and communicate in English as a language of study.
Hey, if you can, please contribute to this fund to support a modicum of payment for the marvellous journalism and reflections of all the young writers working with WANN. 🙂
This here is a piece by Hasna Abu Ewaida, describing her favourite dish, her mother’s hand-and love-crafted Maftoul, which she wakes at 5am to make! It’s a thrilling, detailed description of the crafting of a meal in the context of culture and family. I would love to eat it, though I confess I’ve already bought myself a pack of Zaytoun Maftoul which if you live in the UK you can find in fair-trade and small food shops
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Enjoy this clip from “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.” Thanks to Nyrees of Sandwell and Birmingham Permaculture Group for sharing it. She’s a weed-eater along with the best of ’em. 🙂