There’s a perfect word that sums up everything about Netflix’s new cooking show, “Salt Fat Acid Heat,” and it emerges over a meal that the star, Samin Nosrat, is enjoying with her hosts in Japan, where she has just learned the traditional way of making soy sauce.
As they dig into some chicken and rice balls, the elderly woman who has helped prepare the meal laments that the rice balls are not the perfect shape. “The thing I love about wabi-sabi is that handmade quality that makes it human,” Nosrat tells her host, using the Japanese term for finding beauty in imperfection.
Wabi-sabi is one of the things that makes “Salt Fat Acid Heat,” named for the four factors of successful cooking and her cookbook of the same name, remarkable. The show and its star exude it.
It is Netflix’s first instructional cooking show, and it doesn’t look anything like the rest of that genre, which is too often the domain of cheerful domestic goddesses in glossy, polished kitchens.
It’s also a travel show — Nosrat takes her viewers to a different country that exemplifies each component in the show’s title — and it doesn’t look anything like those shows, which are usually full of brash men eating organ meats and throwing back beers, either.
Instead, it looks like Nosrat’s life, beautiful in its imperfections.
Such seems to be the guiding principle of documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s decades-long output, as the beloved filmmaker continues to turn his keen eye on yet another part of the American experience with his newest film, “Monrovia, Indiana.”
For Wiseman, the film was all about exploring the kind of slice-of-life Americana that has so often compelled his creations.
“I thought a film about a small farming community in the Midwest would be a good addition to the series I have been doing on contemporary American life,” Wiseman said. “Life in big American cities, on the east and west coasts, is regularly reported on, and I was interested in learning more about life in small town America and sharing my view.”
Despite its hefty subject matter, the film’s running time clocks in at just 143 minutes, which ranks it as one of Wiseman’s shortest feature-length documentaries ever and his shortest in seven years.
The new season of Netflix’s culinary documentary series, “Chef’s Table,” includes the series’ best-ever episode, not to mention three others that also rank very high on the list.
If you’re new to the “Chef’s Table” phenomenon, or if you’ve abandoned the series after getting fed up with all the temperamental geniuses on display, this new season is a great place to dive in. The show has a more diverse cast than any previous season, and the filmmakers are all working at the top of their games.
In terms of storytelling, cinematography, and emotional impact, the Cristina Martinez episode is a new high point for the series.
Martinez, the undocumented Mexican immigrant chef behind Philadelphia’s renowned restaurants South Philly Barbacoa and El Compadre, has an extraordinary life story that’s gracefully told here in an episode directed by Abigail Fuller.
Martinez found wild success in America by reclaiming a dish she was forced to make in an abusive relationship back in Mexico, and, in doing so, can thrive in North America while also supporting her daughter back home.
The last moment of the episode — a FaceTime conversation between Martinez and the daughter who she has not seen IRL in over a decade — is the kind of scene that will stick with you long after it’s over.
It wasn’t that long ago when online dating was considered strange. Less than a decade ago, the prevalent stereotype attached to online dating was that it was only for socially awkward nerds who were unable to meet people in real life, or for possible psycho killers looking for their next victim.
But in just a few short years, online dating has become the norm among single people, and it’s now the people who don’t engage in the online dating scene who are labeled weirdos.
But what does this mean for society as a whole? That’s what the new HBO documentary, “Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age,” out Sept. 10, is looking to find out.
The doc also stresses just how huge online dating has become. According to the trailer, adults between the ages of 18 and 30 spend an estimated 10 hours a week on dating apps. That is a significant chunk of time, especially when it’s devoted to something that is potentially harmful to one’s overall well-being.
For better or worse, it’s the new norm when it comes to dating, as the old world of getting a person’s phone number and calling them has essentially gone extinct. “I do remember when you used to call people on the phone,” says one young male in the trailer. “I think if you called someone these days you’d probably get labeled a psychopath.”
Anthony Bourdain’s life will be coming to movie theaters.
CNN confirmed to Vanity Fair last week that it’s collaborating with Zero Point Zero, the production company behind Bourdain’s wildly popular shows, to create “the definitive Bourdain feature documentary.”
But rather than air the documentary on CNN, the network has decided to bring it to the big screen, where Bourdain’s legion of fans can celebrate his life.
Bourdain started his career as a chef. After becoming a bestselling author, he was the host of hugely successful shows on the Travel Channel and CNN.
Bourdain was beloved by millions around the globe, thanks to his unique ability to learn about an area, enjoy food, and make viewers feel like they were part of the entire process.