Books, Film, and Food

As for so many people, the Covid pandemic stalled our travels.


Fortunately, we have so many options to do armchair visiting, whether it be the old fashioned way through books (including audiobooks) and television, or the internet watching YouTube travel documentaries or Vlogs.


While many new worlds have opened up for my husband through YouTube on his tablet, I still prefer reading but we have both enjoyed watching foreign films and series on the big TV screen. With a PVR to record and the availability of apps and subscriptions like Prime and Netflix, we have occasionally fallen into the habit of binge watching.


What I must also admit to is that while watching characters eat, listening to their accents (if filmed or dubbed in English), and absorbing the atmosphere of the locations, my brain reacts by making me crave foods of that particular country.


We have been watching both the old (1978-1990) and the new (2020-) All Creatures Great and Small. The series is based on the books by James Herriot (Dr. James Alfred Wight). He was a veterinarian in Yorkshire, England, practicing for almost fifty years, starting in the 1940s. His stories are often humorous, sometimes sad, but always considerate of the animals and their human owners. The veterinarians often gather around the breakfast table and when I see them cracking a soft boiled egg and spooning up the luscious golden yolk… yup…next morning…an egg with buttered toast soldiers for brekkie!


This happens while reading too. Hot from the oven, buttery croissants (among other delicious French Canadian foods) feature highly in Louise Penny’s novels about the insightful and compassionate Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec. The croissants at Pure Vanilla hit the spot but I have to limit myself to buying only one for each of us.


Every time I read a Henning Mankell book with his older Wallander character, a Swedish policeman, my coffee consumption doubles.  


During the last year, we supported our local restaurants with a take home meal once a week, and here are some of our favourite ethnic places.


I love noodles, in all its chewy forms – ramen, chow mein, chow fun, and pasta. We watched the Japanese film, Tampopo (1985) one evening about 5 years ago. It is about some truckers who help a single mom with her ramen noodle shop. As ramen afficionados, they not only guide her to perfect her recipes, but also pitch in to repair her run-down shack. Of course, dinner the following night for us was ramen noodle soup! I often make it at home, with “fresh” (as opposed to the dried pucks so many students live on) noodles from the grocery store and homemade broth, but we have also enjoyed ramen from Menbow Ramen Bar, and Chinese Wor Wonton and noodles from J & J Wonton Noodle House.


Last year we avidly followed a Korean series called Stranger (2017), even though we had to read sub-titles. It is about a prosecutor who has lost the ability to feel emotions, and is helped by a feisty female detective. There were many scenes with street food meals. I am thrilled to learn that the series has gotten approval for a third season. One of our favourite Korean meals is the Galbi Jjim Hot Pot from Naru Korean Restaurant (which closed after COVID).  It was a dish made with braised beef ribs in a sauce served with glass noodles.


We happened upon Dehli Crime (2019), which is based on the 2012 gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus. We had often thought we would like to visit India some day, so this was an opportunity to see the country in a different way than Bollywood extravaganzas. It was also the fact that the series features a  female Deputy Commissioner of Police that kept us watching. It is in English and Hindi.  Season 2 was released this month on Netflix. The Mantra Downtown has a delicious rack of lamb that we share. With an added side dish, we can get another meal out of the order.


While we have not been able to travel, at least we have been able to read about or see different peoples and cultures and indulge in some of their culinary flavours.


(Note: The featured photo of Ramen noodle bowl was taken by Stephen Bedase from

2 thoughts on “Books, Film, and Food”

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