A familiar sight when I was a kid growing up in Bangkok was that of someone on a bike going around the neighborhood to deliver food packed in a container called “pinto.” And though our family never used this daily catering and food delivery service, we were familiar with how it worked. How could we not? Advertising pamphlets were put in our mailbox every week, tempting us with the prospect of having a home-style, multi-dish meal delivered fresh to our door every day. A full samrap on your dinner table without you having to lift a finger? I’m pretty sure that even though my mother never actually signed up for the service, she must have toyed with the idea from time to time, especially on days when work became too demanding. Continue Reading →
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You know what’s really great about being older? You become much better at seeing right through nonsense. You’ve got good not only at seeing that the emperor has no clothes on but also at being confident enough to say out loud that the dude’s naked. I don’t like the physical part of getting older. But, man, this part, I love.
Years ago when my nonsense detector wasn’t working as well as it is now, I used to think that anything worth your while must be difficult to obtain/attain, difficult to understand, difficult to emulate, long, fussy, complicated, convoluted, mysterious, or out of reach in some way. I’m so through with that kind of thinking; it’s childish and rooted in a lack of self-trust, and it had never served me well.
This change has affected all aspects of my life these days, including how I eat, how I cook, and which cookbooks I buy. I’ve noticed that the older I get, the easier it is for me to part with certain types of book and the more tightly I cling to certain types. I’ve come to treasure cookbooks that are simple, humble, approachable, and highly usable. It’s these cookbooks that have survived the annual pruning of my book collection year after year after year. Continue Reading →
Here’s a modern-ish Isan dish that would be perfect for this time of year when the temperature is beginning to drop in the Northern Hemisphere.
Essentially Isan shabu shabu or hot pot Isan-style, jim jum (literally “dip (and) dunk”)* is not a weeknight meal; it’s not an everyday dish; it’s more of a party food which I enjoy no more than twice a year: the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas when palate fatigue from all the cheesy, buttery, creamy, and sweet dishes from the big feast from the day before sets in. Nothing fixes it like a piping hot, brothy meal like this—spicy, sour, salty, herbaceous. It hits all the parts of you that need to be hit. Having most of the friends who live locally around during that time to enjoy it with me makes it even more fun.
It doesn’t mean you can’t have it more often than that. Continue Reading →
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