Episode Three: “Food and Family”
Food is a tie that binds us to our families in powerful and pervasive ways. From our first sip of mother’s milk to a post-funeral potluck buffet, our lives are bracketed by and defined by food. Shopping for food, preparing it, eating it — through these small, daily rituals, bonds are forged and memories are created.
In “Food and Family,” we meet several families whose relationship with food is central. We visit a 24-hour diner in Chicago where people come together in a sometimes decades-long ritual of communing and consuming. Through Hsiao-Ching Chou, the award-winning food writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, we explore the complex tangle of love and duty experienced by many of the families that run the more than 25,000 Chinese restaurants nationwide. Hsiao-Ching takes us back home to the family restaurant in Missouri and shares bittersweet memories of seven-day work weeks — as well as her family’s prized recipe for dumplings.
We learn about the elaborate art of “obento” — the creation of exquisite, jewel-like lunch box treats that some Japanese-American mothers still practice; visit with the Cruz family of San Benito, Texas as they celebrate the Christmas holidays with a tamale-making marathon called a “tamalada;” and go to St. Paul, Minnesota for a peek into the local male-bonding ritual called a “booya,” the creation of a huge stew that’s made from a recipe passed from father to son, takes all night, and requires lots of beer in both the pot and the chefs.
Our episode ends with the funeral of Vaai Fano, a Samoan woman who is honored by her huge extended family with a traditional week-long gathering done 'fa’a Samoa’ — in the Samoan way — that includes the feeding of hundreds of friends and relations.
Executive Producer/Series Creator
Senior Producers/Series Directors
Senior Story Consultant
Marina Jade Gordon
Laurie Bohm Rosalyn Brandon
Stephen Thomas Cavit
Additional Segment Directors
Director of Photography
Robert J. DeMaio
Post Production Supervisor
Northwest Film Forum
Post Production Facility
Flying Spot Seattle
Carole M. Counihan
Cara De Silva
Jessica B. Harris
Cross Films Productions
Minnesota Historical Society
The Alex Hotel, New York – Home of Riingo Restaurant
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle
Palisade Restaurant, Seattle: Chef Mike Bryan
Ofer Gneezy & Christine McLaughlin
Billie & John McLaughlin
Pam McClusky & Kakuta Hamisi
O’Gara’s Bar & Restaurant, St. Paul
FOR OREGON PUBLIC BROADCASTING
Marion Rice, Ed.D.
SR. DIRECTOR NATIONAL PRODUCTION
EXECUTIVES IN CHARGE OF PRODUCTION