i just returned (to chicago) from the toronto film festival. my last movie was 'dreamcuisine', a doc. about sato hatsue and her husband.she is a 78yr.old japanese woman born in china who runs a famous chinese restaurant in tokyo that preserves the imperial cookiing of china, known as shandong. i wish i could say more; the movie was 2:14 long, but was short on hard facts.i was hoping for more details about the food itself. at one point she says that 2 ingredients she cant get in tokyo are cats and house mice! more appealing was one classic dish we see her make. its pork stomach stuffed with pine nuts and medicinal herbs(not identified). its sewn up, boiled for 6 hours, left resting under a huge stone for 24 hours. it ends up like a large hockey puck. when sliced, its firm with a lovely mosaic pattern to each slice. very intriguing.
i must recommend this movie if it ever shows up at a festival near you, or maybe eventually on DVD or PBS in spite of its shortcomings since i believe there is nothing like it. it was primarily about her longing to go back to china to teach and the struggle to preserve the traditional ways with the advent of 'nouveau shandong style cooking. hatsue's mantra is, 'no sugar, no lard, no MSG'. we see a chinese chef demonstrating the new style using both sugar and MSG. if anyone can add something to this subject, i'd love to know more. joan