This morning on the train I seemed to stumble upon one interesting article after another on twitter, and one of them was about the history of one of my favorite foods in the world: Pad Thai. The article even had a recipe for the dish, though I’ll stand by the one I got when we took a Thai cooking class in Bangkok a few years ago 😉
We just went back to Thailand for our winter holiday in December, and I can say with certainty that we ate Pad Thai at least once a day. So. Friggin. Good. Remembering our recent trip to Thailand immediately brings words like “paradise” to mind. We had an amazing time (though we were still homesick for a Christmas back home with friends and family!) and it was a much-needed vacation.
One of the things we did during our leisure time on our Thai vacation (besides eat amazing food all day…) was read. I was pleased that I had saved the book Talking with My Mouth Full for the trip. I first heard about the book on my favorite podcast, The Dinner Party. On the podcast there is a segment called “Eavesdropping” that features a short excerpt of a book read aloud by the author, and in one episode they featured Gail Simmons reading about her experience interning for Vogue food critic Jeffrey Steingarten. That was enough for me to add the book to my reading list, and I am glad I did!
I enjoyed the book for many reasons. Firstly, if you haven’t already gathered, I have a passion for food. In the book I was able to learn about the life of a chef, the life of a “professional eater,” different cooking techniques, and more. Secondly, I can really relate to Simmons’ love of travel, which is a huge part of my life. Putting those two things together makes for an excellent read, in my opinion.
“…immersing yourself in a totally different world than your own is the perfect way to gain perspective on the troubles that plague you. When you travel, you don’t have the option of closing the door and weeping in your bedroom.”
“Food is, naturally, an extension of this. Foreign flavors convey so many priceless lessons: discovery, elation, pleasure, nostalgia, comfort, and fear. The food of a new place teaches you so much about its culture. It offers you a window into other people’s lives, history and values. It allows you to see that the world is much bigger than you and your broken heart.”
I totally agree with what she says about food being a window into culture and history–I think that’s why trying new foods while traveling is my favorite part of going somewhere I rarely go to or haven’t been before. Even the process of eating and the intimacy of sharing a meal (no matter where you are) can be so revealing!
Chad about to dig into salt-encrusted fish, Pad Thai, Tom Yum Kung…
Have you read any books or articles about food and/or travel recently that you found interesting?