Somehow, the sacrifice of many turkeys puts people in the sort of mood to count their blessings. I am one of them (albeit a day later than everyone else). Of course, there is being thankful for my family, and friends, and people who are willing to put up with me for a few hours during the day in general. I can understand your pain, kind people. Thank you for that.
I am also thankful for the many great experiences I have had over the past year — especially the food-based kind. How lucky I’ve been! So here is, pretty much, a slide show of some snippets of my year, which has passed by far too quickly for my liking. Just imagine sitting in a rec room somewhere, wanting desperately to escape while I drone on and on about boring stuff. Ah, Thanksgiving!
1. While in France in the autumn, we escaped from our tour long enough to score a dinner at Alain Chapel for my birthday. It was a great birthday! My choice was simple: a roasted veal kidney, sliced at the table and served with a thick ‘n glossy red wine sauce.
2. Delicious China. Need I say more? Like many many other people, my favorite dish is the ultimate in Sichuan comfort food: mapo tofu, cubes of jiggly blank goodness coated in chilies and beans and good ol’ oil, one of the more bewitching combinations known to man.
3. Berlin is one of my favorite cities in the world. I look forward to going almost every year, when my husband attends a travel fair and I end up having the entire city to myself. I love that Berlin’s possibilities are endless. There is always something new to discover, and always something I end up missing out on. On my next visit, a trip to the pirate-themed restaurant will be an absolute must!
Here, the beef goulash with spaetzle at the Reinhard’s on Kurfurstendamm, otherwise known as Thai Tourist Central.
4. When my family go on holiday together, my dad always ends up being the cook. This might suck for my dad, but it’s a real treat for us, a throwback to when we were kids and dad had to cook dinner after he came home from work.
Quite sensibly, dad tries to shy away from cooking duties now, but sometimes, in a foreign country and surrounded by hungry family members demanding perfectly fried rice or a well-seasoned larb, he cannot say no. Here is his yum nuea, a spicy beef salad made with the local Limousin beef of the Perigord region.
5. Obvious alert: street food. I can’t say I love it in all its permutations and varieties — you may not have guessed, but I’m not the biggest jok (Chinese-style rice porridge) fan in the world, and I actually dislike Thai-style som tum (pounded spicy salad) — but I am truly thankful for the vast range of street food out there right now.
And the variety keeps growing! We are getting Japanese-style okonomiyaki (savory crepes) and pasta sauced with different curries and even, I hear, stabs at Western food. Thai food is at an incredible moment in time when it is figuring out, again, what it really is, expanding and changing its parameters, to the delight or dismay of many. What’s next? I don’t know, but it’s definitely something to be thankful for.