50.000 free meals daily

23 Dec

are prepared, cooked, served and cleaned up by people engaging in voluntary service (seva) at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, Northern India. Belgian filmmaker duo Valerie Berteau and Philippe Witjes present this phenomenon as a dance of food, worship and community in their 2011-documentary Himself He Cooks.


The hour-long film is eloquent without dialogue and is gathering the accolades on its kitchen shelf, such as the Toyota Earth Grand Prix award at the 25th Tokyo International Film Festival this October.

The Golden Temple of Amritsar (Harmandir or Darbar Sahib) is the holiest place of worship (gurdwara) for Sikhs in all the world, according to SikhiWiki. Besides the practice of seva (service to one’s fellow beings), there is also the langar, or free vegetarian community kitchen, with the food purposefully held simple (yay, simple), associated with all Sikh gurdwaras.


The name of the film comes from the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib. Dr. Gopal Singh, i.a., translated this into English and first published the rendition in 1960. You can access some of it in google books here; the eponymous quotation can be found on page 538 and seen in the photo below.


You can watch trailers on youtube here or on vimeo here. It’s certainly going to make my list of must-have-foodie-films.

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