Friday, April 28, 2017

Food in Film: Xiaolongbao

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

A food addict and connoisseur of tasteful films reviews Food in Film, starring...

… Xiaolongbao

I need to stretch this one a little. Xiaolongbao, a Chinese steamed bun, is usually a soup dumpling filled with meat. The Chinese steamed buns I refer to in the post are more of a bread bun and called mantou.

A dramatic scene in one of my favorite foreign films, To Live (1994), comes to mind. It's an epic film directed by Yimou Zhang (he also directed the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing), and follows the lives of a couple, Xu Fugui (You Ge) and Xu Jiazhen (Li Gong), over three decades.

Tragedy strikes as their daughter goes into labor and gives birth in a county hospital. Nurses attend to her because all the doctors, accused of being "reactionary academic authorities," have been sent to a concentration camp.

Fugui manages to get a doctor to the hospital, but the man hasn't eaten in several days. Fugui buys steamed buns for him. Shortly after, the young mother begins hemorrhaging and the frantic nurses admit they are under-qualified and don't know what to do.

They hurry to the doctor and discover he is nearly unconscious. He gorged on seven buns while drinking a large amount of water. The water caused the buns to swell inside his stomach, making him too ill to be of any help.

The doctor's situation is understandable since we might expect a starving person to overfill on food. I have never known that type of hunger. I have food available and the knowledge that I can and will eat again, and yet I experience occasional times of gorging... eating until I am ill, in pain, and cannot function.

And I find it ironic that part of my compulsive overeating stems from learned behavior... being told as a child to eat what I was served... eat foods I didn't like... eat even if I wasn't hungry... clean my plate... because there were starving children in China.

Trailer: To Live

16 comments:

SlimExpectations said...

This bun sounds like a 'momo'? Are you aware of what those are?
Nice knowing you, hope we can stay in the loop post the challenge too!

http://slimexpectations.com/2017/04/letter-x/

Keith's Ramblings said...

Judging by the trailer, that's quite a movie. I had steamed buns when I was in China - fortunatley not too many or I would have exploded when I washed them down with beer!

Another day in Amble Bay!

Trudy said...

Momo does seem similar to xiaolongbao, both are steamed buns with filling, is that correct?

Thanks for stopping by through the A to Z challenge. It's so fun to meet up with bloggers during the challenge, and I, too, hope we can stay in touch!

Trudy said...

Oh the agony. The thought of expanding buns makes my stomach ache. I don't even want to imagine an exploding belly!

Donna H said...

I had a friend that lived in China during the Cultural Revolution. They were interesting stories, but I never really thought about medical doctors being removed from their profession. Girl Who Reads

Trudy said...

The director was in his mid-teens and early young adult life during the Cultural Revolution and wanted to make films about that history. ("To Live" was banned in China, but bootleg copies were seen.) It's a film I've watched several times and continue to ponder.

SENCO Cat Herder said...

What an interesting post - it's lovely to learn more about the world and it's history even the rather nastier parts sometimes. I love the strap line for your blog - I totally agree :) I'm glad I came here via the A-Z Challenge - I'll have to catch up with your other posts after Sunday as I am sure they will all be as interesting as this one.
http://pempispalace.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/x-is-for-xerxes-xenophobe.html

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Trudy - what an interesting post - I've seen some films on life in China that's difficult ... but we can understand what is doing on- yet of course the necessities and what they will do to us - we don't always think about. Thanks for highlighting this film and the plight of the peoples there in ... cheers Hilary

http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/y-is-for-y-artists.html

Denise said...

I hope all the folks in China appreciated all that I ate for them. You can't have dessert until you eat all the fattening non-tasty food Mom had already made.

Trudy said...

It's wonderful to meet up with so many bloggers during the challenge. I, too, will be returning to blogs to catch up on posts I missed. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to "seeing" you again!

Trudy said...

Even though there are many hardships and struggles depicted in the film, the characters held on to hope and found reasons "to live"... I love that message.

Trudy said...

It doesn't make sense, does it... overfill our bellies because someone else is hungry. Crazy.

Kristin said...

That sounds like a real horror, starving doctor over eats - you would think that as a doctor he would realize the danger of doing that,but starvation probably drove it out of his mind. The woman dying in childbirth...
Finding Eliza

Trudy said...

I think many of us do things even when we know better, and you're right, starvation would override common sense.

Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment!

Cathy Kennedy said...

Trudy,

Like you I was taught to clean my plate. I wasn't a big eater as a kid because I was so small. When we were first married and ate out I felt guilty for leaving food on my plate. I felt it was a waste, especially knowing there were starving people somewhere in the world. It took me years to stop that madness. Nowadays when DH and I eat out, we just order one entree and share. It's way enough food for the two of us and it cuts our cost in half. I'm not sure why more people don't do this but anywho, it works great for us.

Art Sketching Through the Alphabet “X”

Trudy said...

I still struggle to "stop that madness"... but improving. I am getting better at respecting hunger and fullness signals.