Documentary Shows Importance of Asian Food in US
Korean-American filmmaker Grace Lee grew up in Columbia, Missouri.
There were not many other Asian families in the university town in the Midwestern part of the U.S.
When she was a girl, her family tried to fit in with American culture. That culture included food.
"We sort of kept our kimchi to ourselves in our basement refrigerator," Lee says.
Kimchi is a well-known Korean condiment made from fermented cabbage, radish, scallion or cucumber.
But in the 1970s and 1980s when Lee was young, people in places like Columbia, Missouri would never have known what kimchi was.
"We never exposed it to anybody," Lee says.
Over 30 years later, food culture in the U.S. has changed a lot.
Kimchi is now found as a condiment on American foods like hamburgers.
Lee wanted to examine the evolution of Asian food in America in her documentary Off the Menu. It came out in 2015.
Lee's work is now available on DVD and as part of the American Film Showcase. The program brings documentaries and independent films to audiences around the world.
The showcase is part of a program supported by the U.S Department of State and produced by the University of Southern California. Audiences in countries like Armenia, Nepal and Vietnam see American films. Experts lead discussions about the films as a way to help people around the world better understand American culture.
Lee traveled around the U.S. to make her movie about Asian food. She did not think tofu would be a very popular food in a state like Texas.
She spoke with Texan Gary Chiu, the son of immigrants from Taiwan. He runs the oldest tofu factory in Texas.
Chiu said he makes both tofu eggrolls, a traditional Asian food, and tofu tamales. Tamales are a traditional food from Mexico.
Lee says Chiu's business is an example of fusion: mixing the food culture of China, Mexico and Texas.
Some people say food helps the healing process. Lee wanted to find out if that was true.
In 2012, six members of a Sikh temple in the Midwest state of Wisconsin were killed. A man with a gun entered the temple and started shooting as people in the temple were getting ready for a meal called langar.
Lee talked with people from that temple. They told her they continued the tradition of langar even after the shooting. They said it helped heal the community.
"You can't pray, you can't be in tune in with God, unless your belly is full," one temple member said in the film.
Off the Menu ends its 60-minute tour of the U.S. in Hawaii. One family still tries to practice the traditional Hawaiian large meal called a luau. Although much of the food consumed by Hawaiians is imported, Hi'ilei Kawelo says she and her family try to catch seafood just like their ancestors did.
In the film, she tells Lee "when you eat it, you're eating the essence of all the skills passed down from generation to generation."
The Center for Asian American Media, which helped pay for the film, also talked with Lee about her film. She said she hoped the documentary would help people learn more about what it means to be Asian-American. She wants viewers to learn about the people behind the food that has become a big part of life in the U.S.
"To really do the topic justice, we'd probably need an ongoing series," Lee said.
I'm Dan Friedell.
1.grew up 成长
An intimacy grew up between us.
2.fit in 适应
Can you fit in a visit to me?
3.sort of 某种程度；有几分
That's just the sort of thing I want.
4.find out 发现
I'll find out the address,and ring you back.
1.In the film, she tells Lee "when you eat it, you're eating the essence of all the skills passed down from generation to generation."
passed down 遗传；传递
This title will only pass down through the male line.
Pass tools down to me before you come down the ladder.
2.A man with a gun entered the temple and started shooting as people in the temple were getting ready for a meal called langar.
getting ready for 为...做准备
They were busy getting ready for their journey.
Both Tom and I are getting ready for tennis match.
当她还小的时候，她的家人尝试着融入美国文化 。这种文化当然也包括食物 。
李计划在纪录片《Off the Menu》中介绍亚洲美食在美国饮食中的演变过程 。该记录片于2015年问世 。
该记录片现可在DVD上观看，并且已成为美国电影展示的作品之一 。该活动为全球观众展示纪录片和独立影片 。
该活动是由美国国务院支持、南加州大学举办，而展示只是活动的一部分 。亚美尼亚、尼泊尔和越南等国的观众观看美国电影 。专家把电影的讨论作为提高人们对美国文化理解一种途径 。
为了制作关于亚洲饮食的纪录片，李曾周游美国 。她觉得在德克萨斯，豆腐并不是很受欢迎 。
她采访了德克萨斯的加里·邱，一位台湾移民的儿子 。邱在德克萨斯州经营着一家年代最久的豆腐厂 。
邱表示他主要制作豆腐蛋卷（一种传统的亚洲食品）和豆腐玉米粉蒸肉 。玉米粉蒸肉是一道墨西哥传统美食 。
有人说食物能够愈合创伤 。李想一验真伪 。
2012年，威斯康星州中西部的锡克教寺庙里6名教徒被杀 。当时，庙里的教徒正准备langer（一种食物）时，一名男子端着枪走进寺庙开始疯狂射击 。
李曾与寺庙的教徒交谈 。他们表示，即使惨案发生，他们还是照常进行传统的langer仪式 。他们说这有助于治愈创伤 。
《Off the Menu》在美国夏威夷结束了60分钟的影片拍摄 。还有一户家庭仍然尝试制作夏威夷传统顿美食luau（烤猪） 。西’埃雷·卡文拉表示，虽说夏威夷多数食品是进口的，但她和家人还是愿意像祖先们一样捕捞海鲜 。
为纪录片提供资金支持的亚裔美国媒体中心也与李交流了对影片的看法 。她希望这部纪录片能够帮助人们更全面地了解亚裔 。她希望观众能够了解，饮食背后的这些人已然成为美国文化的重要组成部分