Must See Films About Food

Good food, cooking and eating it, presents itself as the theme of innumerable films. I am sure everyone has their favorites and these eight are mine. These stories take place in Mexico, France, Germany, Denmark, India, and New York, so the experience and pleasure of telling stories about food is a universal one, like eating itself.

Babette’s Feast is the classic story of one extravagant and sumptuous meal, made by one woman, as a gift to the friends who saved her.
Chocolat, where one woman and her confectionery shop, bring pleasure back into the lives of people in a very uptight little village in France.
Like Water for Chocolate, in which the youngest daughter must refrain from marriage to take care of her aging parents, but she finds her release for pent up love and passion in making food to die for.
Ratatouille, about Remy the rat who, tired of eating moldy scraps, and sure of his own propensity for appreciating good food, travels to Paris and finds it in a high-class restaurant, but how does a rat become a cook?
Big Night, the story of two brothers in New York, who must pull off one really extravagant meal to save their failing Italian restaurant, but everything goes wrong.
Julie and Julia, based on a true story about the early years in France of famous cook, Julia Child, and the young New Yorker who emulates her cooking years later, by trying out every single one of her recipes.
The Hundred-Foot Journey, a recent release about an Indian family of cooks who open their restaurant, in a French village, across the street from a 2-star, fine French restaurant, and the complications which ensue.
And, best for last, Mostly Martha, about a compulsive and moody German chef who, when the care of her eight-year-old niece is suddenly thrust upon her, learns to mellow out with the help of the wild, flamboyant Italian chef who arrives to help in her restaurant kitchen.

What am I missing? Have a favorite?


Memories of Tubingen

Media Player

June 2, 2015 at Malletts Creek Branch

Since 1965, Ann Arbor has established six sister city relationships. Tubingen, the first community invited to be a sister city, was compared to Ann Arbor by someone who had lived in both places “like twins raised in different countries. There is the university, the students, the river, the mills.”

On December 9, 1965, the official charter of the Tubingen and Ann Arbor partnership was presented to City Council, followed by a concert of Christmas carols sung in German by Ann Arbor High School students. Visits between the two areas started as soon as the decision was finalized. This event brought together several participants from both countries in this long-standing partnership to reminisce about the cities' 50-year relationship.

Speakers include:
• Ute Bechdorf, Director of the Deutsch-Amerikan Institute of Tubingen;
• Carolyn Melchers, local resident who, as a young Pioneer High School German teacher went on an early trip to Tubingen and met the man who would become her husband;
• Josie Parker, Library Director;
• Marianne Rauer, who moved to Ann Arbor from Germany after WWII and who has been very involved in the Sister City Program;
• Grace Shackman, local Ann Arbor historian;
• Ingrid Sheldon, Former Mayor of Ann Arbor

Length: 01:11:44
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
Related Event:
Memories of Tubingen

TV Spotlight: The Good Wife

A great court drama now in its sixth season is The Good Wife. The legal drama focuses on a politician's wife, Alicia Florrick, who pursues her own career as a defense attorney after her husband is sent to jail on charges of political corruption. Florrick not only deals with her career but also with keeping her family together as she provides a stable home for her two teenage children.

Each episode features new court cases with new court dramas, as well as overarching storylines that focus on a variety of regular characters, including lawyers, politicians and investigators. It’s such good drama with some really likeable, interesting, fun, and even enjoyably annoying characters! It's fast paced and addictive. Even if you’re not really into legal dramas The Good Wife is worth a try.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #526

Lady Montfort's (Clementine Elizabeth Talbot) annual summer ball is the highlight of the season, not just for the household but for the county, and all their London friends. With the millions of details to be seen to, her ladyship relies heavily on her capable and resourceful housekeeper Edith Jackson, a handsome woman in her early thirties. The 1912 ball went off without a hitch. Even the weather was perfect to show off the Montfort's new sunken garden. Tragedy strikes in the early hours of the next morning when the gamekeeper finds a body, hanging in a gibbet that turns out to be that of Teddy Mallory, Lord Montford's dishonorable nephew, just expelled from Christ Church, Oxford.

When it was discovered that a new housemaid and one of their London guests also disappeared during the night, Scotland Yard gets involved. After unwittingly witnessed a violent confrontation between her son Harry, Lord Haversham and Teddy in the early evening, Lady Montfort fears that the official police inquiry is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect. Taking matters into her own hands, the countess enlists the help of Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case.

In Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman "an enchanting debut, author Tessa Arlen (incorporates) exquisite period detail into her well-mannered mystery, offers readers an engaging peek into the lives of upper and lower classes of early 1900s England combined with a little history interspersed." For those who enjoyed English country house mysteries like Gosford Park and Kate Morton's The House at Riverton.

If the elegant estate on the jacket cover brings to mind another establishment depicted in a long-running Masterpiece Theatre TV series, it's intentional. In fact, Tessa Arlen will participate in a panel discussion entitled Downton Malice: British Historical Period Mysteries at the Malice Domestic convention in Bethesda, Maryland, Sunday, May 3, 2015.

Historical mystery fans interested specifically in the Edwardian era may wish to check out the author's Redoubtable Edwardians blog, choke-full of fabulous information and readalikes.


Nerd Nite #23 – The Elements of Style: How to be a Great DJ in 5 Simple Steps

Media Player

March 19, 2015 at Live! 102 S. First St.


File NameSizeType
aadl_nerd_nite_20150319-dj-240.mp447.29 MB240p Video
aadl_nerd_nite_20150319-dj-480.mp4101.48 MB480p Video
aadl_nerd_nite_20150319-dj-720.mp4194.74 MB720p Video
aadl_nerd_nite_20150319-dj-audio.mp39.77 MBAudio

In this talk, DEFTMIX uses concepts from Strunk and White’s classic college textbook, The Elements of Style to distill the essence of being a great DJ.

About Rolando Calip, Jr. AKA DEFTMIX:
Rolando Calip, Jr. has been a DJ for 20 years and currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has spent the last 2 years as the Nightlife Director/Saturday DJ Resident for Live Nightclub. Before moving to Ann Arbor in 2011, he lived in New York City for 10 years; DJing, curating music for hospitality groups, and managing DJs. Music has taken him all over the world; most recently to Manila in the Philippines where he performed at Black Market Nightclub on NYE 2015. Follow him on Instagram @deftmix.

Length: 00:13:34
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library

Behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live is one of the longest-running television programs in the country, and is certainly one of the most beloved. Featuring live comedy sketches and variety performances as well as popular bands and musical guests every week since it first aired in 1975, SNL celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this year. Fans of SNL will absolutely love Saturday Night Live: The Book, published this year in honor of the show’s 40th year. The large, brightly colored book is filled with facts and never before seen, behind-the-scenes photographs from every season of the show. Also included are interviews with Lorne Michaels, cast members, and other contributors to the show, and fun, goofy details about some of the more famous skits.

As a huge SNL fan myself, I even liked the portion of this book that shows photos of every host the show has had, and lists the air date, host and musical guest for all 784 episodes of the show. It was amazing to see the hundreds of various people that have hosted over the years!

The AADL also has lots of great SNL episodes on video, including the Best of Steve Martin, the Best of Will Ferrell and the Best of Amy Poehler collections, and many complete seasons. If you’re interested in reading more about the show, try Live From New York: the complete, uncensored history of Saturday Night Live as told by its stars, writers and guests.

Live from New York it’s Saturday niiiiiiiight!

Diego & Frida

From now through mid-July the Detroit Institute of Arts is hosting the exhibition Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit. The exhibit focuses on their lives and work before Detroit, during Detroit, and after Detroit. Diego and Frida spent 1932-1933 in Detroit, where Diego worked on the Detroit Industry murals that are painted on the walls of the DIA. The work is amazing, as is the exhibit. Here’s a sneak peek of the magic if you haven’t been yet.

There’s been a lot of buzz about this exhibit and the artists are popping up all over the place, particularly Frida. Feeling inspired for more? Take a peek at the Caldecott Honor picture book Viva Frida!. There are also many other books and DVDs on Diego and Frida in the AADL collection, including the exhibit catalog that’s on order, and the visual book Diego Rivera: The Detroit Industry Murals.

The Criterion Collection is dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions of the highest technical quality, with supplemental features that enhance the appreciation of the art of film.

If you enjoy the bonus features which accompany your movie, where you can see interviews with the director and actors and fun details about how your movie was made, you can thank the Criterion Collection. They invented the concept. They also pioneered the use of letterbox format for widescreen films and have been at the forefront of restoring old and classic films. They are all about promoting and preserving the pleasure of film as entertainment and as art, with social and cultural significance. Their website is a huge source of unique lists of films not to miss and salient information about all kinds of film experiences. You can fall down several wormholes of intrigue exploring this site.

We own hundreds of films in the Criterion Collection here at AADL. Using the “Sort By” feature in the catalog, you can find new and newly re-released films in the collection here, while if you sort your search for the oldest films first you find this listing.

How to describe the collection? Quirky, highbrow, trendy, classic, artistic, unique, nostalgic, contemporary, darkly dramatic. All, and more, are true. Let’s face it, the most popular movies are not always the greatest. Let the Criterion Collection be your guide to finding the essential canon of film.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #520

Plague Land * * by S.D. Sykes. Dispatched to a monastery at the age of seven, now at seventeen Oswald de Lacy assumes the title Lord of Somershill Manor when his father and two older brothers too, succumb to the Plague that has decimated the countryside. Left at home are his overbearing mother and his dangerous and unmarried sister Clemence.

In quick succession, local villagers Alison Starvecrow and her sister are found murdered, which the ambitious village priest blames on a band of demonic dog-headed man. It is now Oswald's responsibility to solve the crimes. But every step Oswald takes seems to lead him deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife.

"Sykes adds an intricate and intriguing debut (the first of a planned series) to the ever-widening pool of medieval-era mysteries. Thrilling plot twists and layered characters abound in this rich tale of murder and mystery in 14th-century Kent."

Readers might enjoy watching the Brother Cadfael series, based on mysteries by Ellis Peters; and Hugh De Singleton series by Melvin R. Starr.

Sadly, this brings to mind The Siege Winter, a stand-alone by the late Ariana Franklin (and completed upon her death by her daughter Samantha Norman), whose award-winning series based on the character of Adelia Aguilar, a medieval woman forensic pathologist will be fondly remembered by historical mystery fans.

* * = 2 starred reviews

New TV Shows @ AADL, Pt. 2

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. Here are some new-to-AADL series:

Grantchester, Season 1
It's 1953 and Sidney Chambers is vicar of Grantchester, a village just outside Cambridge, England. Sidney's is a quiet life. He tends to his flock, keeps up with his jazz collection, and does his best to contain his passion for beautiful heiress Amanda Kendall. But when one of his parishioners dies in suspicious circumstances, Sidney quickly finds that people confide things in a parish priest that they would never tell police. Based on the Grantchester Mystery novels by James Runcie.

WPC 56, Series 1 and 2
Set in England's West Midlands in 1956, the show follows determined Gina Dawson, the first woman police constable to serve in her hometown, as she struggles to gain acceptance in the male-dominated world of policing. Sometimes dismayed by the patronizing sexism, bullying, corruption and racial prejudice that she encounters every day, Gina remains undaunted and sets out to prove her worth, make a difference and earn some respect.

Murder in the First, Season 1
San Francisco homicide detectives investigate what originally appear to be two unrelated murders. Ultimately, they learn both victims have ties to a Silicon Valley prodigy.

Ntsf:sd:suv, Season 1
Never forget? Terrorism hasn't, and neither will the NTSF:SD:SUV. In a world where threatening danger looms large and Homeland Security won't secure itself, San Diego's citizens can't afford not to trust in the NTSF. Short for National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle, the show is a parody of action and police dramas.

Halt and Catch Fire, Season 1
The series is set in the Silicon Prairie of Texas in 1983 and depicts a fictionalized insider's view of the personal computer revolution.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

Syndicate content