Saturday, October 1, 2022

Great Phad Thai

This is one of five egg crepes I made.

This is what becomes of each crepe.

Screwed up: shot in black and white. Finished Phad Thai.

We walked yesterday morning with our friends. It was a chilly 9°. It’s gloriously sunny, but morning fire season is here. My speech has always been at its best with my fellow dog walkers whom I see three-to-four times a week. Yesterday it was possible to say words one at a time. Polysyllables are impossible. Here’s an example of a ‘sentence’ I was able to say: “Steve … ex… go… Italy. Me … talk….video.” One word that’s impossible to say is, “I.”

It's very frustrating to hear people talking about, for example, the clinic. I dearly wanted to correct their mistaken impressions. I wanted to stop the circulation of misinformation, but I can’t do that. I can say very simple things with difficulty, but to say anything complex is way, way beyond me.

Once back at Pinecone Park, I got to work on tidying, cleaning, and preparing all the ingredients for the Phad Thai. I started with the most time-consuming part—making egg noodles. I used a dozen eggs and whipped them like mad with garlic, fish sauce and salt. It took me almost an hour and a half to make them, I first fry some of the mixture, making very thin crepe-like pancakes that I then cut up into strips and I lay them on wax paper. They get mixed in with the hot noodles when I cook everything up.

Making dinner took a very busy 4.5 hours. There was so, so much to do. Making the sauce took 50 minutes. Making Phad Thai from scratch is an extremely time-consuming thing to do. But I did it. However, I was not at all confident in the outcome.

One funny thing happened. The sauce requires palm sugar, and I bought some last Wednesday. I knew that I’d bought some because it was on the receipt, but I couldn’t find it anywhere in the house or in the car (in case it fell out of my backpack). So, I had to tear into the village for more yesterday—a day with precious little time to waste. Later, when getting the ice cream to add to the Apple crumble, I found the sugar I’d bought in the freezer.

When it came time to eat, I cooked the noodles, tofu, shallots, garlic, dried shrimp and sauce up in one wok, while François, my sous chef, cooked the prawns. When my mixture was ready, I dumped it all on top of the prawns in François’ wok, and then he plated the two servings we did at a time, topping each dish with lime juice, a few bean sprouts, chopped garlic scapes, and peanuts.  We put the completed servings into a warming oven, and then did two more servings. We were a perfect team.

Then we sat down to eat. I realized I was serving food that I hadn’t eaten, so I was nervous. I hadn’t made Phad Thai for probably 30 years. But it was delicious—really, really good. And my guests ate every single spec of it, and all the salad and nearly all the dessert. It was a super successful evening.

They left at 9:30 and I flopped onto the couch to recover. But there was something else: I had been able to communicate quite well. I use key words, as exampled above, and felt I was there—that I as part of the party. I listened much of the time, but I did tell a few stories as I have always loved to do at parties. I’m still in the worst condition I’ve ever been in, but I’m not mute in my own home with trusted friends. That is a huge relief.

Today is for rest, one a mega mess in the kitchen is cleaned up and an army’s worth of dirty dishes are washed and put away.

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