Piper J. Drake is a bestselling author of romantic suspense and science fiction, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She is a foodie, a frequent flyer in non-pandemic times, and day job road warrior. She is also WXR’s Communications Director.
Piper Mommy, Thai Dramas, and Thai Food
Some of the WXR alumni met the Piper Mommy last year on the WXR19 cruise alongside Matthew J. Drake’s mom. Piper Mommy lives in Thailand. We keep in touch via the LINE app, instant messaging and making video calls, mostly talking about our current reads and the latest Asian drama we’re binging. We’re both voracious readers and we watch Korean dramas, dramas from mainland China and Taiwan, Japanese dramas, and of course, Thai dramas. I’m not always able to commit to an Asian drama binge, so Piper Mommy has come up with a particularly effective way to hook me into watching a show faster.
She sends me foodie clips.
น้ำจิ้ม – Nam Jim
Piper Mommy loves the “main character goes back in time” trope in fantasy, science fiction, and romance. บุพเพสันนิวาส (BuppeSanNivas or “Love Destiny”) is a Thai drama based on a novel of the same name by Rompaeng. The main character is a history student thrown back in time to the Ayutthaya Kingdom. There are several plot points in which the main character prepares a food for the matron of the house that make a huge impact.
Piper Mommy sent me multiple video clips from the show of the main character making various delicious foods in the traditional way, many involving manually pounding aromatics with old-fashioned mortar and pestle. Seeing those gorgeous ingredients and listening to how much the characters enjoyed those foods, I couldn’t resist figuring out how to make the dishes based on what I was seeing in the videos–and of course, I got sucked into the watching the whole series.
If you’re curious, I’ve linked the video clip she sent me to hook me on this show. (start at 1:37)
แกงเขียวหวานไก่ – Gang Kiew Wan Gai
Full House is a Korean manwha, or comic book, series that has been adapted to Asian dramas for television in South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Turkey, China, Pakistan, and Thailand. This popular story is a romance featuring “marriage of convenience” and spunky heroine shenanigans. In the Thai drama version, the heroine learns that the hero loves แกงเขียวหวานไก่ (Thai chicken curry using green curry paste) and learns to make it from his grandmother.
I loved this Thai drama so much and became so obsessed with this type of Thai curry–and the misunderstanding where the grandmother didn’t know her grandson loved chicken feet in this curry, which becomes a recurring joke in the series–that I watched it over and over to figure out how to make it.
Here’s the scene where the grandmother teaches our heroine how to make this dish. It was fun to see them cook in an outdoor kitchen, something I remember from summer visits to Thailand as a child. (start at 36:43)
Thai dramas aren’t the only media to inspire my cooking adventures. I’ve cooked a number of dishes from 食戟のソーマ or Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma, as well as some wonderful comfort foods from Card Captor Sakura and かくりよの宿飯 or Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits. I’m delighted by Jang Man-wol’s foodie adventures in 호텔 델루나 or Hotel del Luna and I regularly make my own version of 떡국 (tteokguk), sliced rice cake soup.
I’ve researched recipes for foods mentioned in my own books as part of the development of my characters. You can learn a lot about a character based on their love (or dislike) of food, what memories certain foods trigger, and how a character reacts to new or unfamiliar foods. Attendees of WXR at SiWC will be able to learn more about how I do this in my talk on Eating Your Way to Deep Character Development on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 11am Pacific Time.
Food in story-telling is powerful and I enjoy the experience both in the media I consume and my own writing.