Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Eat everything on your plate

Nadine is forwarding to some of you indication of the commitment with which I follow my mother's advice to eat everything on my plate. I'll tell the rest of you a bit further down the page.

Most of the day was spent at a cooking school down the river from the main part of Hoi An. We started off visiting an organic herb farmer to get a first hand look at some of the herbs we would be using and getting a better idea of the differences between mint, Vietnamese mint (also known as Asian basil) and the other greens we were using. I'm not a good student and spent most of the morning at the back of the pack firing away with my camera at the farmers and the scenery. I did more of the same when we went to market to shop for the fish, herbs and shrimp that we would be using. I did slow down to see the demonstration of some of the traditional Vietnamese knives and cooking utensils and some of you will see me doing infomercials with them if other lines of employment don't open up soon. "And, look here I won't even cut your finger."

"What's with the band-aid?"


After that we settled down for our cooking lesson at a nice restaurant set along the riverside surrounded by bamboo and farms. We were joined today by four Americans - a couple from California and two women from Michigan marking a 40th birthday. We had a good time together and were guided through the meal preparations by a cook who smattered his broken English regularly with Aussie turns of phrase.
We did an adequate job on the first course, a beef pho which involved noodle making as well as the broth. After finishing that up we got our sleeves back up again to make a salad, a shrimp dish grilled in banana leaf and a mudfish hotpot that even Nadine (fish lover she is - Let them live!!) ate.
The humbling moment of the meal was when I tried to eat the banana flower leaf that my salad was in. I just figure I ought to eat everything on my plate. I did not eat my banana leaf or the hot pot.
We sailed back up the river to tie up downtown and wander the streets. Nadine did a bit more fair trade shopping, I bought a few more postcards and a 5x7 by the photographer I met yesterday. Dinner? I have neither an idea nor the room at the moment.


A big, big PS. We saw sunlight today. It was a little hazy but there were shadows and everything. A nice respite from the cloud and rain.