Linda asked me of memories of Thai Food. I have so many memories of Thai Food. When we moved to Thailand in the 1970s, there was a lot of fear. I remember traveling through Europe on the way to Bangkok, and honestly, the food was different. It wasn’t the food I was used to in Europe. I liked most of the food we tried in France; I love the food in Ireland. But it was different. I won’t say it was a rational fear. It was pretty irrational overall. Our first experience of food in Thailand was the Café American that was a short walk from the hotel where we stayed. We were in the hotel for about a month or so, and the Café American was where most of the Unesco families stayed.
My first attempt at Thai food was Salute Nua. Or to translate Beef Salad. What harm could befall you eating Beef Salad? First, I loved the flavor. The mix of beef, lime, and onions was superb. My dad said, avoid the little green peppers. They were small, what hard could come of that? I learned about the concept of fire at that point. I drank a lot of water. I later learned that milk was a better option, but we didn’t often get milk in Bangkok, and by the time I was 11, I was already a milk snob. I had fresh or nearly fresh milk in Wisconsin, the stuff outside of Wisconsin wasn’t that good. So I learned the lesson of fire, but the food was so good I hate it all.
That was my experience with Thai food. It is hot. They often ask you, American hot or Thai hot. In the beginning, I went, after my lesson of the Salad of Fire, American Hot. By the end of the year, I had moved to Thai hot. The thing that I loved the most about Thailand was the sheer wonder of fruit. I had in my life in Indiana had Mangos. They were fairly bland and an OK fruit. In Thailand Mangos were desert. They were amazing. Sticky Rice and Mangos and I were in heaven. Pineapple, something that previous to Thailand I thought was ok, but not great, was now beyond great. I even learned that I could hold my nose and eat Durian. Although I have to say we didn’t eat Durian often. I remember my mother saying “what is that stench” the first time dad cut a Durian open!