AS TRAVELERS, our relationship with food varies. You can consider it simply the fuel that keeps you moving, or you can make it an experience to seek out. It can be served by waiters dressed better than you, or street vendors shoveling pad thai onto napkins.
Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine of The Perennial Plate, in partnership with Intrepid Travel, have created a film that maps India’s daily cycle through it’s extensive array of foods.
Because India is a big place, and each area varies dramatically, we attempted to construct a day across India: from north to south, from dawn till dusk.
Following Perennial Plate’s work with Intrepid Travel, I’ve seen their evolution as filmmakers take a sharp turn. They’ve left behind their interview-heavy, documentary style for the snappy storytelling that pops between food and the act of travel itself. As much as I’ve loved their films over the years, this change suits their strengths as filmmakers.
Basically, there isn’t a damn thing in this video I don’t want to eat. I’ve seen dozens of films of people walking through Asian markets looking at scorpions on sticks or deep-fried slugs. I get that the filmmakers are trying to capture the exotic-ness of the local cuisine. But Daniel and Mirra don’t make this food look ‘foreign.’ They make it look delicious. Perfectly baked bread peeled fresh off the side of the oven placed next to fluorescent curry — I want to lick my monitor.
And the food is only part of the story. Every image has a human element to it, from men piled atop a Jeep on a dusty road, to children crowding the camera, to a woman bending down to sow seeds. Vendors hold their vegetables up for the camera. Men dance. Daniel and Mirra seem to put people at ease, allowing them to capture what is essentially a blur of crisp human moments.
While no three-minute video can (or would claim to) give a deep understanding of India’s cultural and culinary diversity, this one certainly scratches the surface, exposing the many layers of Indian society, if only for an instant.
With so much beauty and filth, food and poverty, happiness and stress: it’s an overwhelming (and wonderful) place to film.
India is just an early stop on Perennial Plate’s Real Food World Tour. Working with Intrepid Travel, Mirra and Daniel are hoping to tell the stories behind the culinary wonders that both bring us together and differentiate us as human beings.
Think: Rooftop farms in Beijing, grass fed beef in Argentina, blue fin tuna spawning in Japan, tea in Sri Lanka and some hardcore food porn in Italy. We know it’s the tip of the iceberg as far as capturing what “real food” means around the globe and we know that flying around the world is not very “sustainable”, but we think it’ll be a valuable series in this overly connected world.