Movies


Sometime during college, when I had my first introduction into Korean media, I watched what is now one of my favorite movies.  The movie is called Madeleine, and it is your fairly typical Korean movie/drama storyline about a girl and a boy and how they fall in love.  (Not to be confused with the English movie Madeleine, which is about a little girl.)


It’s pretty cute, and I’ve been meaning to rewatch it one of these days.  I don’t quite recall how madeleines even tied into the main storyline (I don’t think it did), but the male lead in the movie enjoys baking and at one point makes some madeleine cookies.


That movie was the first time I had heard of madeleine cookies, and for some reason I fell in love with them and have maintained a happy, longing relationship ever since.  They are incredibly adorable and surprisingly sophisticated.

My first taste of madeleines was supremely disappointing, however.  I saw them once at a Starbucks soon after I watched the movie and was incredibly excited.  (Note: I don’t actually drink coffee, so I never go to Starbucks; hence, I’d never seen them there before.)  Of course, commercialized food is one thing, but I had not quite learned how to eat the madeleine cookies and had expected a completely different taste/texture.  The one from Starbucks had a kind of funny taste, I thought, and I stopped eating them soon after (mostly because I never saw them again).

I’ll pause at this point to explain what madeleine cookies taste like, if you’ve never had one before.  I would describe them as a dense sponge cake: fluffy but heavy at the same time, moist, and sweet, with a distinctly “egg-y” flavor.  They can also be flavored; the most common ones I’ve seen so far are orange, lemon poppyseed, or chocolate chip.  They can also be served plain or dipped in chocolate, as pictured above.

Despite my slavish love for baking (and making ice cream), I don’t enjoy eating most pastries or desserts much and am as picky with what I do like as I am with most food.  Sometime later on, I learned that the cookies could also be eaten dipped in coffee or tea.  That turned out to be supremely tasty in my opinion and is the only way I eat the cookies now.  You may enjoy them by themselves, if you like that kind of texture.  It all depends on preference, but I hope that if you get a chance to try them, you’ll like them one way or another :)

This year was my first time to try baking them.  I made them for someone as part of a Valentine’s Day package, and I must say I was probably most excited to make these because they’ve always been so special to me.  (I still don’t know why, though…)  They turned out pretty well then, and it was then that I first tasted them dipped in tea.  Although they have a relatively simple ingredient list, I’d say that they are easy but not beginner’s level-easy to make, as the process can be arduous and easy to mess up.  Still, they’re not hard, and they’re worth it!

My second time baking them was this past weekend, as I had a sudden whimsical desire to do so and even brought my madeleine pan home from my apartment just for that purpose.  I made Sunday breakfast for my parents, complete with espresso and jasmine tea for dipping (mom made the tea — but I made the espresso).  We also had some fruit on the side, mainly so that they would remember to eat the lone orange I zested for the madeleines.

I don’t have process pictures, but I’ll make sure to take some the next time I make them.  Meanwhile, here is the recipe I used this past time.  You can get a pan either online (Amazon.com) or from a store that sells a little big more specialized kitchen stuff.  I got my pan from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and I really like it.  It’s easy to clean and doesn’t stick, which is always a concern for anything that is baked with a shape.  Highly recommended.

I’ll leave you with more pictures from this past breakfast (because I like taking pictures of food XD).  The recipe provided makes two pans’ worth of madeleines, so I made one set of plain madeleines and a second with orange zest.  My parents liked the orange one better with tea and the plain ones better with the espresso.  Enjoy!

Oops, they’re kind of hole-y.  I think it might be because I left the batter in the fridge for too long (overnight) — the second batch came out prettier, and I had let the batter sit on the counter for a while.

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This past weekend, my friend Tiffy visited from out of town, which was a lot of fun :)  We had lots of needed GIRL TALK XD  And of course, we wandered around an outdoor mall and went shopping.  (Your typical girl date :P )  Somehow, we ended up spending 3 hours at like 2 places > <  But anyways…

We had dinner with some of our friends that she hadn’t seen in a while (actually, I haven’t seen them either D:  Because everybody’s too busy for everybody else… or maybe I’m just too busy QQ).  On the way, Tiffy and I realized we haven’t been to so many places despite having lived here for for a few years.  There was a pretty little strip of land across the river/lake with benches that seemed like it would be a nice place to read, stroll, or watch the sunset :3  We also saw a couple taking wedding pictures on a little dock.  The dinner was at a trailer called The Mighty Cone.  It was basically fried food with some lettuce and sauce wrapped up in a tortilla and put into a paper cone.  The food was really good, though, and we also got some chili-dusted fries.  I can’t eat spicy food well, so it was a little spicy for me, but overall it was delicious and well worth a trip :)

Then we had an impromptu house warming party at one of our friend’s “newly” bought and renovated condo, which was gorgeous.  (He bought it like a year+ ago but just recently finished remodeling it, and most of us hadn’t seen it before.)  He also took us to the top of a nearby parking garage, which overlooked a lot of the city — we could see the lake, the hill(s?), the skyline, and radio towers XD  Apparently, during July 4, you can see a bunch of different fireworks all over the city.  It would be very pretty to see :)

We decided to watch a movie then, and we went back to my place (since my friend doesn’t have a TV) and Tiffy showed us a few things, which I have provided here for your entertainment :3

How Asian Women Age

 

For the movie, we ended up watching this dramatic Japanese movie referred to as an X-Men crossover with Romeo & Juliet.  It was unfortunately dubbed, but that just made it more ridiculous than dramatic XD;;  The movie was called Shinobi: Heart Under Blade, and apparently based on a true story and similar to a manga/anime called Basilisk.  Don’t ask me what it was about though, I was pretty tired so I ended up sleeping through almost all of it.  They said that I didn’t miss anything though >__<;;

All in all, it was a lovely weekend, and so much fun, as it always is with her~ <3

Happy Valentines Day!


Although Valentine’s Day has derailed quite a bit from its original meaning, I still quite like the holiday as it is today.  I think a lot of people look at it as a commercial holiday that promotes you to buy a lot of stuff you don’t need to express a love that you should be showing every day — and I completely agree with that.  But I also like to look at it on the flip side as a special day that people can look forward to (hopefully), and it’s not about only showing your love on this day, but more like celebrating your love, or the existence of love at all, on a special day.

For those who enjoy or celebrate birthdays, it’s kind of like that.  You live every day, but a birthday is an annual celebration of the fact that you are alive!  It’s a reminder that you came into the world, and a good time for people to tell you what they probably wouldn’t tell you every day: that they love you and are happy you are in their lives.  Valentine’s Day is sort of the same thing, I think.

Personally, I think that the traditional chocolate and flowers and Valentine’s Day cards, with dinner at a nice place, is very sweet.  (I’m a fan of tradition, if you couldn’t already tell XP)  But the thing is, the point is not what you buy, but what you give.

Just as sweet, and maybe even more meaningful, would be giving hand-made chocolates (or anything else!) that is specifically tailored to the tastes of your valentine, hand-picked flowers (doesn’t have to be a beautiful bouquet, as long as you picked it for your Valentine), or a hand-made card (regardless of whether or not you have artistic quality or a way with words).  And for dinner, getting all dressed up for a guy to take the girl to his place and cook nice food for her, is also very sweet :)

(I was trying to get away from “guy doing this for a girl,” but I don’t think I really could, so I gave up at the end XD)

Anyways, those are just some ideas.  Girls love hand-made things, because it’s personal.  It doesn’t have to be amazing or professional, it just has to be sincere.

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Originally, Valentine’s Day was a feast for St. Valentine, one of fourteen martyrs named Valentine from ancient Rome.  The story I heard before was that the St. Valentine we refer to with Valentine’s Day was very loving and giving, and he took care of children (or something?).  I’m a little fuzzy on all the details.  I’ve also heard that at some point, he was in prison, and sent a letter signed, “From, Your Valentine.”  Supposedly that’s where we get that phrase from.  Please correct me on any of this, because I didn’t really read the linked article closely, and my memory tends to be spotty XD;

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In the Western culture, Valentine’s Day is typically a day where the guy does stuff for the girl.  He brings her flowers, he gives her chocolates, he takes her to dinner and out to whatever else they’re planning to do.

In some parts of Asia, there’s a slightly different convention.  Valentine’s Day is the day that girls give to guys — and she doesn’t only give to her significant, but to all the guys (classmates, father, brother, coworkers, etc).  Typically, she’ll give them lesser quality chocolates, and then she will give hand-made or very expensive chocolate to the guy she likes.

Then, on March 14, which is called White Day, guys are supposed to give presents to all the girls that gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day.  I think typically they have to give a certain amount more to each girl (so guys still get kind of the short end of that stick XD).  I’ve also heard that the guy only gives presents to the girl if he returns her affections.  I guess it depends on the culture, but I kind of like this exchange ^w^

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It’s also fun to hear stories about people’s Valentine’s Day.  Some guys are really creative and romantic!  I heard one story on the radio about a lady who received a letter, along with her two female friends, from their husbands that told them that they were to be Charlie’s Angels and had a mission.  They were to dress up and go downtown to purchase a cap gun, and then get someone to take a picture of them doing their best Charlie’s Angels pose.  Then, they received their second mission: to purchase whipped cream and a single red rose, and get pictures taken with those.  When they were done with that, they were to drive to their church, where  tall and handsome man would take them to where they needed to go.  They arrived at the church and were taken into the chapel, where their husbands were each waiting there, dressed as groomsmen, and they renewed their wedding vows.  There was even a small, catered reception afterwards, with a wedding cake :)  How fancy!

Oh, a good Valentine’s Day movie, I think: Kate & Leopold.  It doesn’t top Ever After on my list, but I’ll have to say that all guys should be like Leopold :P

~*~

Holiday traditions are fun :3  What’s your Valentine’s Day tradition?

Sometimes, a girl likes to be treated like a princess.  But a girl needs a prince to be a princess.

This is just a random thought that’s been floating around in my head.  I love fairy tales as much as the next dreamer, but it is really hard to square that kind of thing up with what we call “real life.”

When I say that girls like to be treated as princesses, I don’t mean that people need to bow down to her, or that any guy who is interested in her should be her servant.  I just mean that it’s nice sometimes for a guy to… well, do the thing that princes in movies do.  The kind of romantic thing that guys usually are just really bad at.

Bring her flowers for no reason.  Give her pretty jewelry (okay, that’s a little extravagant… you can save that for special occasions).  Show up at her door step with a surprise — and it doesn’t have to be a physical or monetary surprise.  You can come and cook her a lovely dinner, or cutely shaped pancakes for breakfast.  You can come and take her to a bridge or park to have a leisurely stroll under the beautiful blue sky, or the sparkling stars at night.

It’s not hard to be a prince.  Well, so says the girl XD  But really!

Anyways, I should probably get off that topic before I get into the hard/extravagant stuff >__<;;  I do tend to get carried away with those impossible kinds of things.

But while I’m on the topic of romance and princes and princesses, I feel like talking a bit about one of my favorite movies: Ever After.

I don’t think that it was a spectacular box office hit, or even that many people have seen it or like it.  But for some reason, I really, really enjoy this movie.  It’s one of those rare movies that, once I finish watching it, I just feel like watching it again because I didn’t get enough.  Actually, it’s sort of my “remind me that true love exists?” movie, and I like to watch it when I’m feeling down.  To me, it’s a simple, fairly realistic rendition of the Cinderella story, with a likable heroine (I liked her, anyways), a believable prince, and a good sampling of the ups and downs of love.

And while I’m talking about Cinderella (yeah, I tend to do these weird thought chains), I’d also like to mention one of my favorite books: Ella Enchanted.  Mind you, I did not much care for the movie version, and I thought the book was a lot better.

Ella Enchanted leans more towards the children’s book side, but I still find it a delightful read.  It also has a rather likable heroine and believable prince (I guess I have a thing for realistic fairy tales?), along with a full storyline that deviates quite a bit from the original tale but is enjoyable nonetheless.

Please check them out if you get the chance :3