Like most “books to movies” I liked the book better. But the film is gorgeous, especially the recreation of the hanamachi of Gion. The world of the geisha was so contradictory. Even though this is fiction, it is still interesting to watch the forces that shaped their lives play out.
My favorite character is Hatsumomo, beautifully portrayed by Li Gong. In the book, Hatsumomo literally chases Chiyo from teahouse to teahouse, working to ruin her as a geisha. The film does a good job of showing this tension but, just as in the book, when Hatsumomo is not stalking Chiyo, the storytelling suffers.
With cherry blossoms soon on the horizon, this seems like a great film to watch while enjoying sushi cupcakes. Yes, sushi cupcakes. Not with fish, mind you, but with coconut. Fabulously inventive, Clare Crespo is the author of The Secret Life of Food and Hey there, Cupcake. The following recipe is hers and was found at SeaCoastOnline. Thanks to Not Martha for turning me on to Clare Crespo’s work.
Makes about 30 cupcakes.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1¾ cups sugar
1¼ cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups sour cream
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
4½ cups shredded coconut
¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
8 green fruit roll-up snacks
Assorted candies (jelly beans, Gummy Worms, Gummy Fish)
Dried papaya and mangoes
Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake tins.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl.
In a separate, larger bowl, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
In a small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla.
To the butter mixture, add about ¼ of flour mixture and mix well. Add about ¼ of the milk mixture and mix well. Continue alternating the flour mixture and milk mixture, beating after each addition until smooth.
Pour the batter into the cupcake tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched.
Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then turn the cupcakes out of the tins and on a rack to finish cooling completely.
Frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, vanilla and coconut. Add the powdered sugar and mix thoroughly.
Using a butter knife, spread the frosting over the tops of cupcakes.
Decorations: Trim the fruit roll-ups to the height of the cupcakes. Wrap one fruit roll around the side of each cupcake.
Arrange the dried papaya and candies on the tops of the cupcakes.
Serve the dried mangoes on the side to resemble ginger.
Make your favorite type of sushi cupcakes by using different candy toppings. For a Japanese-theme party, create a whole sushi platter.
“Hey There, Cupcake!” by Clare Crespo (Melcher Media, $16.95, 80 pages)”