Saturday, April 2, 2011

2 Degrees: A Film's Nutritional Value

I was thinking about Sitaji's blog name the other day, Bollywood Food Club, and because it was early morning and I was on my way to work, my mind, not surprisingly, wandered towards food. I came to a very strange conclusion: my tastes in food and my tastes in films are practically identical! So because nutrition has been one of my interests for many years, this legitimately qualifies as 2 Degrees of Separation.

~ Sugar free ~

No Yash Raj, that does not mean you get to substitute with saccharine which is even worse for you.

Anyone living in North America knows how hard (if not downright impossible) it is to keep sugar out of your diet since it's practically in everything. Does bread need sugar? Nope, but it's in there! Do pickles need sugar? Does yogurt? Nope, but it's in there too. It boggles the mind how many ways there are to get you to eat sugar, it's like a conspiracy! So like it or not, just like I can't keep syrups out of Indian films, I can't completely eliminate sugar out of my diet either, but I can do my darnedest to limit it. With films this is usually done by avoiding 90's films, sappy love-stories and family melodramas at all costs. Oh, and Karan Johar!

I've come to the conclusion that this is why I like South Indian films so much: the romance is most of the times an after thought. Now I realize this undermines women's rights and possibly turns them into sex objects and all that (especially when their only role is to look good shaking it in mini-skirts whenever the need for a song arises), but not having to see the weepy love scenes is worth that price for me.

Of course every now and again there comes a dessert that even I can't refuse. Swati's brownies are very similar to Fanaa: I know they're full of sugar and carbs, I know they'll give me no nutrition whatsoever, but I still crave them. And one day, I promise, one day I will make them! But luckily I only get these cravings a few times a year.

~ Fat free ~

I am not a fan of the fat-free fad that takes fat out of everything. And the main reason for that is: there's good fat and bad fat. I like to have proper fat if it's of the good kind. So not surprisingly, I love my Chiru even in his old age. And while I would probably bite anyone's head off if they dared call Mumaith Khan fat, I'd say she's at least a 4% if we think in skim milk terms. The Goddess Madhuri was also a solid 2% and sometimes even a 4% in her days. And you know what, 4% is fine by me if that's what the product calls for.

But what I do hate and try to avoid is the evil trans fats. You know, the stuff in chips, burgers and ramen noodle soups. In movies that would correspond to useless but fattening fillers such as comedy tracks, useless side plots and crappy songs. Things that only exist in this world to waste your energy. And unfortunately exercising in fast-forwarding does not count as a work-out, as much as I would like it to.

Ugh! No, just no!

~ Whole grain, multi grain ~

It's not the same thing, I know, but they have the same benefits: more nutrients, easier to digest, plenty of substance. They also give you steady energy for longer because they slow down the absorption of carbs.

Just like I like lots of nutrients and  in my bread, I like a lot of substance in my films. A movie that doesn't give me anything lasting is not a movie I will rush to recommend.

But every now and again I cannot deny myself a nice fluffy butter croissant and to hell with the calories! It's not very often I fall in love with a fluffy film, but it happens, as I already ranted before.

~ How about gluten free? ~

Coming from a country where it's not uncommon to ask for a slice of bread with your mashed potatoes, I am definitely not yet convinced of the benefits of gluten free. Still very fond of my staple wheat and my cheap bread and I am not ready to exchange that for all kinds of kooky substitutes, just like I am not in favour of Indian movies giving up their trademarked ingredients: the songs, the randomness, the colours and most importantly the warmth. The day has not yet come for Bollywood to be gluten free and I sincerely hope it never comes. Just switch to a sustainable whole grain and that will be more than enough, thank you!

~ Spicy as hell! ~

I used to never eat spicy food and pepper was my worst enemy (of course, this was before I discovered the hateful coriander). But sushi changed all that, and now I ask for extra spicy when I order my Indian food. Apparently it's good for you too, something about kick starting your metabolism, and your... errr, I'll spare you the details.

But most spices are good for you, not just the chili based ones, so I use them all in abundance. I like the idea of my food tasting different and of mixing up all kinds of things to see if they make for a tastier dish. Which is why putting curry and cumin in my omelets is not a matter of debate anymore.

Similarly, I like the fact that Indian films bring me a whole new world of tastes and visions that I would not experience otherwise. If one can travel through food, one can travel through movies too. Sure the Moroccan food in Toronto will never be the same as in Morocco (sadly, a far cry from it!), just like the world of Tashan will never correspond to anything in real life in India, so it hardly counts as traveling, but even the most nonsensical Indian film has potential to be delightfully spicy and intriguing, just by virtue of being different.

But for the most part, just like using imported spices gives you an idea of the taste of food elsewhere, Indian films also manage to give me a bit of insight into another culture. As skewed as that may be.

~ Good looking, of course! ~

Well that's a given: who doesn't like a good looking dish? Sometimes the dish looks far more appetizing than it tastes and you're disappointed. Not unlike slick, promising films failing to deliver because of bad scripts or terrible acting. But I give points for looks anyway, even if the taste doesn't quite hit the target. After all, even the loosely scripted and outrageously predictable Game gets points from me for "good looks, good looks and... good looks", as Poo would aptly say.

And if the dish/movie tastes even better than it looks, well then all the more reason to rave about it!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm sure there are other similarities if I give it some more thought, but before I put everyone to sleep with my healthy lifestyle obsessions, this seems like sufficient proof for why I measure my healthy food and my good Indian films on the same scale. To tell you the truth, when I started thinking about it I didn't think I would find so many similarities, but there must be something there is this was so easy to write. So thank you, Sitaji for inspiring this one, and... Bon Apetit everyone!


Mette said...

Good idea for a post, and I agree with you on many things. But I think I'm a little more into sugar, and I also like frozen pizza once in a while. Maybe that's because I'm still very young, or because I'm quite slim and don't eat really much. I just eat normal, and what I like, but I try to eat healthy if I can (and want to). Just not always possible.
You forgot to write about vegetables and fruits, something well-tasting for in between, leaving you satisfied and happy :).

Anonymous said...

How aptly that obscure song from Chatrapati fits into the context.This is unbelievable, how you remembered that song and placed it in the article.


Dolce and Namak said...

@ Limette: aah, enjoy your age girl! You'll probably start paying more attention as the years go by, take it from Aunty Dolce :)

But yes, excellent point about the fruit and veggies, I KNEW I was forgetting an important food group :) So what should that correspond to? Youtube videos? :D

@ Tolly - first of all, whaddayamean "obscure song"???? That happens to be an amazing item number and one of my favourites ever, it cannot possibly be labeled as obscure, you take that back right now! :)

And you give me too much credit, my dear, I actually didn't remember the lyrics specifically, I just remembered the food being shown in the beginning, because I've watched it a million times on youtube without subs. :) I only vaguely knew they talked about food in the song. The fact that the lyrics are so great was just a happy bonus.

Jyothi said...

What an original idea for a post! :)

I don't watch telugu movies, so that song was new to me- and i loved it! Such an infectious tune, and i happen to find Mumaith Khan very hot anyways. So, win-win.

Just curious- do you watch malayalam movies as well? Would love to know your take on some of the mallu movies you've seen. :)

On a completely different note: Hateful coriander? :( It's my favourite ingredient among in the spice rack! :P

Katherine said...

Ah, yes, the coriander (love) and the Johnny Lever (like, in *very* small doses -- though if you pushed me, I'd say he's overused way too often).

One of the thing that strikes me as I spend more time watching Southie films is that the women don't seem to be Beauty Queens and Models, if you know what I mean -- they're attractive, but they're proportioned more like the rest of us in terms of average height and weight. And many of them can dance better, too.

That's probably a gross oversimplification. But your post has given for thought!

Dolce and Namak said...

LOL Sorry Jyothi, I'm one of those 20% or so people in the world who feel a completely different taste in coriander/cilantro. It's not the fresh lovely flavour you guys taste. It's more like soap, AFTER the bath :P I read some theories that it's genetic, hence not many latinos or South Asians are repelled by it, while many Europeans are. There seems to be no cure for it :)

Ah, and no, I have yet to see a straight Malayalam movie, but got some good reccos and already put them in my basket. Now just waiting for the next paycheck to buy them. If I love them you'll see them reviewed here :)

And glad you liked my Mumaith item, it's by far one of my favourites, though I pretty much love her in anything :)

@ Katherine - hello stranger! Welcome! You know, I was actually thinking about that recently, they used to be much fuller in Bollywood in the 90s too, now it's all about being fit, which is fine by me (as long as they don't starve themselves to death but if that's the case I have no sympathy for stupidity). In the South there are still successful actresses who are on the 4% or even half and half side of things, but I find they're skimming out over there too: Shriya, Ileana, Tamanna, all the glossy young actresses are pretty damn fit. They still dance better though :) I'd say don't get too excited, give it 5 more years and they'll all be thin in the South too. Personally I'm all for being fit, not necessarily thin. That's why I love Mumaith because she may be fuller, but she's all muscle and that is very hot. :)

I guess they cater to whatever people want to see... The guys have slimmed down too, and I don't think we can complain about that ;)

Swati Sapna said...

I take a 15 day sabbatical from blogging and what do I see?? A film blogger turned food blogger??! :P
Absolutely loved reading this post :) And am mighty flattered you thought of my brownies in the midst of all the food and films :D yes, they are completely my kinds - SRK and KJo variety of sugar that I luuurrrvvvee! heehee! I know ur gagging and dying right now... lol!

Dolce and Namak said...

LOL Swati, don't get your hopes up, it was only for this post. Cooking and I still don't get along as well as we should for the balanced diet that I aspire to be on.
Very happy you liked the post, I thought this would be of special interest to you! :) Your brownies do look magnificent! One day... one day... :D

Anonymous said...

It is an obscure song for me :-). For this blogpost context, that song would not have come to my mind in my lifetime. Only song I can think of is from a Telugu Classic movie MayaBazar

Is that Johny Lever pick is from Baazigar? One triva , Johny Lever is a telugu guy.


Dolce and Namak said...

Aaaah, Tolly, that song is marvelous :) Even without understanding the lyrics it seems yummy! Maya Bazar was in my next basket already, but now I will look forward to it even more. And is that the original NTR by any chance? He looks very much like the Jr, so it must be him.

Oh, about the Johnny Lever pic, I have no idea where it's from, I just looked it up on google images and picked the one that was most annoying out of the pack :P I've never seen Baazigar either. LOL To me it doesn't even matter where it's from, he annoys me in EVERYTHING! :P

Anonymous said...

That is S.V.Rangarao famous old time character actor. NTR also in that movie as Lord Krishna.I am not sure whether you like this movie as it is based on one of the side plots of Mahabarata(about marraige of Arjuna's son) and with more than 10 songs along with some more telugu poems (poems were common in those days along with songs)

You might like Baazigar which is entertaining and made Sharukh, Kajol and Shilpa Shettey stars. Has some chart buster songs in those days.


Dolce and Namak said...

Haha! Tolly, I thought you knew me better than that! A plot based on Mahabharata would totally be my cup of tea, while a 90s movie with Kajol and SRK pretty much equals torture. I'll definitely be watching Maya Bazar! :D

Unknown said...

Hey Arnty Dolce... mash and bread sounds like my kind of food... or bread and polenta hahaha. I totally support your opinion on cilantro.. and i find it funny you should say it's like soap after the bath. I just think it's tasting like soap. Thankfully, when i used it to make my Hyderabadi Biryani, the mint came out more than the cilantro flavour. And as in your case, i never ate spicy food while back home but now, now i totally feel the effects of homemade south indian foods... aggggggg. Tastes great thou!

Anonymous said...

I kinda knew you don't like Sharukh that much and probably u like mahabarat based movies(rajneeti and some other movies) but still I said what I said based on total entertainment value for an outsider (Though those two movies we cannot compare on merits). I may be wrong. I would have waited for your final judgment only if I can somehow make you watch Baazigar :-)


Dolce and Namak said...

@ Roxanita - yaaaay!!! You're back! :) Missed you! :-* And yes, Indian and sushi will do it to you on the spicy front. I always say I'm getting my training for when I go to India :)

And ewwwww: bread and polenta???? That's one combo I could never even picture! LOL

Welcome back! :)

@ Tolly - Ouch, I'm afraid getting me to watch another 90s SRK movie might be more of a mission than you think. I did get a bunch of SRK movies from all eras at one point trying to "get it", but after watching them all I still never got the SRK thing, so I thought I'd cut my losses. Unless I develop a sudden crush on one of the supporting actors or dancers in Baazigar, I'm afraid that movie won't happen for me. I try to stay away from 90s films as much as I can.

Nicki said...

you are hilarious. I love how you compare movies to hmmm, food :D

Dolce and Namak said...

Thank you, Nicki :) My Bollywood infested brain will compare movies with ANYthing :D

Post a Comment