Chicken a la Carte

Mood: A Little Bit Sad

This short film called "Chicken a la Carte" by Ferdinand Dimadura moved me to tears.

Produced in 2005, this documentary is about the hunger and poverty brought about by Globalization. There are 10,000 people dying everyday due to hunger and malnutrition. This short film shows a forgotten portion of the society. The people who live on the refuse of men to survive. What is inspiring is the hope and spirituality that never left this people.

Chicken a la Carte was filmed as a fulfilment for the requirement to enter the Berlinale Talent Campus, a winter school for "up and coming filmmakers" that takes place at the same time as the Berlin International Film Festival, and screened as part of the 56th Berlinale in 2006. The film took out the People’s Choice Awards.

 

As a rule, I hate wasting food. I well recall my mother urging me to finish every bite of my dinner when I was much younger and quite a bit fussier about my food. She would always tell me how fortunate I was to have food in front of me every night, and any food that I didn’t finish could feed whole families in China. Even a couple of grains of rice accidentally dropped on the table would be pounced up on by my mother, who would say "that could feed a family in China".

I remember once, in a moment of rebellion (and as a result of a full stomach), I defied my mother by refusing to finish what was put in front of me. Predictably, my mother said "That could feed 4 families in China – don’t you feel guilty that you’re wasting food that could feed 4 families in China?" I still refused to the food, so she repeated her sentiments again, to which I cheekily turned to her and asked her for an envelope, so I could send my leftovers to the starving Chinese children and their parents.

Even today, I hate the thought of wasting food. I try my best to never over-order, and if I do, I do my utmost best to eat everything that is in front of me. As best as I can, I eat all my leftovers for lunches and dinners after I’ve cooked a big batch of food, even if I am sick to death of the sight of yet another portion of leftovers. And if someone else is serving me food, my plate will always return empty, whether my stomach can handle all the food or not.

A few weekends ago, we were invited to dinner at our friends’ place, and they cooked this sumptuous 3-course gourmet meal for us. We started off with a gorgeous mushroom soup with homemade bread. I had to stop myself from eating too much of the yummy bread, and I was glad, as the main course was slow braised beef cheeks in red wine. The aromas were sensational, as was the taste and texture. The beef literally melted in our mouths! The only "criticism" I had was the fact that my beef cheek was the size of half a cow. And once it was placed in front of me, there was no turning back.

By the end of the main course, I was ready to explode. I was so full that I actually felt dizzy and had some trouble catching my breath. I had asked J to help me finish my meal, but he was already struggling with his own, and gently told me that he wouldn’t be able to assist. So I bravely battled on, and eventually I ate every bite.

I seriously needed to lie down for a while after that huge meal, especially when dessert was still to come. Thankfully, dessert was pretty light – an apple tart tatin. I’m proud to say I ate every bite, but boy oh boy did I feel over-full afterwards. J took 2 days to recover from the meal – he had heartburn and indigestion after eating so much!

After watching the short film, I will continue my efforts to not over-order when I’m out, nor waste food when I’m cooking.

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