Tag: Group Writing

Khmer Cuisine Part 1: An Introduction

 

Khmer cuisine refers to the cuisine of Cambodia. It’s not to be confused with Cambodian cuisine. The first is considered to be almost uniquely Khmer, the bits of influences it experienced came from India and Java. Whereas Cambodian cuisine is referred to what emerged after the 1700s, and is influenced by the cuisines of Portugal, China, Malaysia, France, Vietnam, and Thailand. The last two are two-way influences as Thai and Southern Vietnamese cuisines are heavily influenced by Khmer cuisine. 

Khmer cuisine is categorized by dishes as well as by tastes: sour, salty, bitter, and pungent (if pungent could be considered a taste). These four tastes are also applied to Cambodian cuisine as well. Although, a worrying trend toward sweeter taste has emerged recently among the younger generation. Our food is well balanced between those four tastes, and by that, I don’t mean balanced in a dish, but that there would be a dish of each taste at the dining table at mealtime. 

Member Post

 

Everyone knows it’s windy . . . in March. Ricochet members, founding or first time subscribers, AND especially the reticent or keyboard shy, are heartily encouraged to join in our group writing project this month. Each month, Ricochet members like you share a few thoughts, a bit of knowledge or creativity, playing off a theme. […]

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Chef Surprise…Oops, She Did It Again!

 

I’ve been cooking since I was nine years old. I’d bake cookies back then for our family of eight (at that point; it ultimately numbered 10) so the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip package needed to be tripled. That is how I learned to add fractions, actually. Fractions were one of the rare sections of math that I succeeded in during my first go-round with school. (My math “a-ha” occurred during my second venture into college–another story.)

Well, in baking those cookies one had to do a “test” batch–just two cookies in a metal pie pan to check if you’d put in the correct amount of flour. Here’s where my first adventure in Cooking Fails started. I checked the “try cookies” as they were known, and it was obvious that more flour was needed. But, instead of measuring out another third or fourth cup, my brain was doing something else, so my hands picked up the sifter and turned the handle until all the flour had been emptied into the rotating bowl of cookie dough while the MixMaster was doing its best to incorporate it.

Nom Kom: A Simple Cake

 

Nom Kom is a very old, very traditional Khmer cake wrapped in banana leaves in a pyramid shape. It is a simple cake, made with glutinous rice flour and has coconut, palm sugar, and black sesame seed filling. All the ingredients you can easily find in your local supermarket. While banana leaves are available at the frozen aisle of Asian markets, fresh leaves can sometimes be found at Latin markets as well. Nom Kom is one of several traditional cakes my grandmother likes to serve at our family’s various religious ceremonies throughout the years.

It is a simple cake, as stated above, but nom kom also bears a religious connotation as well. It represents the yoni (vulva, womb), a personification of the divine feminine creative power, the mark of Mother Shakti. In Hinduism, the yoni is the counterpart to the linga, the symbol of Lord Shiva. So of course, num kom has its counterpart, num ansom. At engagement and wedding ceremonies, num kom and num ansom are always presented together to symbolize the union of the linga and the yoni, the representation of the eternal process of creation and regeneration, the union of male and female principles. In Khmer, that union is called mea ba (mother, father).

Chef’s Surprise: Taste & See

 

I’m going to cheat a little bit here and not write about food at all. Instead, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. In fact, I love it so much that it’s in my email signature.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!”
Psalms 34:8 CSB

Chef’s Surprise: Food on the Go

 

The janitor for my VFW post hustled to finish the morning cleaning before dashing off to his second gig, a pizza and wings shop. He proudly announced that a local network affiliate had featured his pizza joint as a “hidden gem” among restaurants located inside gas stations. This prompted memories of food along the road map of memory. I remember hot dogs at Howard Johnson, fresh crusty rolls with cheese and meat in small Bavarian towns, and the Triple T truck stop restaurant in Tucson, Arizona.

Early in life, when my parents took me and then my first sister, on the road, Howard Johnson was known as a safe stop with clean restrooms. My memory is of a special toasted hot dog bun holding a thin hot dog in a paper tray. A quick search online confirms that HoJo had its own bun design, almost like a slice of bread formed into right angles.

Member Post

 

Each month Ricochet has two group writing projects, intended to encourage the widest possible member participation. I have been the chief cat herder for the theme writing project for the past couple years. By way of exhorting and occasionally extorting participation, I have been known to threaten to fill white space with posts featuring bears, […]

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Chef’s Surprise: The Movies

 

chef's surprise graphicTo kick off a month of posts by members on the theme “Chef’s Surprise,” let’s go to the movies. There have been a number of movies of varying quality made about or featuring chefs, cooks, cooking, restaurants, or eating. What follows is a summary of movies I have seen and enjoyed, to one degree or another. There are a number of critically acclaimed, and surely quite sumptuous, movies on the theme that I have not yet gotten around to viewing. This list is mostly middle to lower brow, but none will spoil your bowl of popcorn.

The finest film, and I mean that sincerely, on cooking, is Babette’s Feast (1987). Babbette is a Parisian woman, a great cook, who seeks refuge in a town on the Danish coast. There she serves and cooks very simple fare for many years in a very austere community and environment. Then news arrives that she has come into a small fortune, by a stroke of luck. A friend in her old life has renewed her subscription to a lottery each year and she has won.

She proceeds to throw a feast for the elderly community that has sheltered her. The preparations involve the arrival of all manner of supplies and Babette shows her full culinary mastery, enchanting the community. [Spoiler alert, read below the line at the bottom at your risk, if you have not seen the movie.*] This movie is also one of two G-rated movies on my list.

Old and New: Eternal Truths

 

When I think of the phrase “old and new,” God and the Bible certainly come to mind. One of God’s names is “the Ancient of Days,” referencing His eternality, and even the “youngest” books of the Bible are well over 1,000 years old. That being said, this is one of the most precious verses of Scripture, in my opinion: 

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!”Lamentations 3:23-24 CSB (emphasis added)

Member Post

 

There has been a great deal of good writing over the years, inspired by monthly theme cues. Maybe you missed some, or joined more recently. Instead of searching on tags, just bookmark this post. This index will capture all of them in one post, updated monthly. A big thank-you to past keepers of the themes; […]

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Member Post

 

Hey you! Yes, you. Each month, Ricochet members like you share a few thoughts, a bit of knowledge or creativity, playing off a theme. Sometimes it is no more than a concluding line or a throw-away to shoe horn their post into the theme. We are very casual about that. The whole point is for […]

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Bryan at 51

 

This is part of the Group Writing for January

So, another trip around the sun, and I am 51. There is no “well I was just in my 40’s” arguments. That is now over a year ago. Nope, I am into my sixth decade of life. I lived through a near-crippling lower back problem that left me lame and needing physical therapy to learn to walk again at the end of my 40’s. I can wake up after a poor night’s sleep and feel almost as lousy as if I did not sleep at all. I take off my glasses to read. I have been on a statin for 11 years now. And, one knuckle in my right hand is starting to hurt for no reason about once every three days. We won’t talk about fighting the pounds. But, if I am honest, the sense of time passage has not really been based on physical age.

Old and New: In a Pickle

 

pickle fermentation2021 puts conservatives and anyone right of Jane Fonda in a pickle. Some very bad old ideas are back in new and far more weaponized forms. Yet, the future does not ultimately belong to the left, nor need the next few years. We can bend the arc of history with time and effort. Speaking of time and effort, let’s talk pickles.

I grew up in a family that had a large vegetable garden every year, yard space provided. This necessarily led to freezing and canning. For whatever reason, cucumbers were never, to my memory, a part of my mother’s garden. We had plenty of squash, and tomatoes in places where they would ripen. Zucchini squash was shredded and packed into small freezer containers for use all through the winter months, hopefully used up just about when the next season’s crop was small, tender squash. Tomatoes went into larger Mason jars as stewed tomatoes, or chutney or governor’s sauce for meat. It took me a few decades to follow the family canning tradition.

I started canning about three years ago, driven by a surplus of lemons from a friend’s lemon tree and a desire to reproduce a tomato jelly recipe I had discovered at a microbrewery. I like good beer and started home brewing after my initial Army tour in West Germany, when it was West Germany. Put a pin in the home brewing. Accordingly, I also like trying new small breweries’ products. The Sleepy Dog Brewery had a tasting room at the front end of their brewery and food trucks on high volume nights. This included a pizza oven trailer, supplemented with pretzel dough buns topped with cream cheese and tomato jelly. So, a great deal on the right kind of tomatoes merged with a recipe search, generating my first batch of tomato jelly.

Group Writing: Mamaw Reviews

 

New ideas are borne of new experiences. New experiences require a willingness to move. That could be a new job, new house, new food or even new books or movies. Being flexible of mind and willing to consider new perspectives built this country and makes us better men and women. I see a lot of that on Ricochet. New ideas being filtered through the old.

My mom turned 87 last year. A former matron and dispatcher in our small town, she’s a nervous wreck around her grandchildren and tough as nails physically or mentally. She declined an offer out of high school to move to DC and work with the FBI; and instead started a family here in the rolling mountains of Southwest Virginia.

Member Post

 

January 6 is the twelfth day of Christmas, so I am not out of season with Christmas music. Yup, the Twelve Days of Christmas are not part of Advent, the weeks leading up to Christmas. Rather, the Christian church, both east* and west,** commemorate this ancient feast day twelve days after commemorating Christ’s birth. To […]

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Auld and New Lang Syne

 

The song most associated with the (western) New Year is a Scottish tune with lyrics coming from Scottish folk roots. The words, as we know them, come from Robert Burns. The poet claimed he had found the words, yet he most likely wrote a significant portion himself, riffing on older sources. Here, then are a series of recordings, from the dawn of voice recording to this year, so that we do not forget the old times in the rush of the new.

The earliest recording I found was from 1910, performed by Frank C. Stanley:

Member Post

 

Hey you! Yes, you. Each month, Ricochet members like you share a few thoughts, a bit of knowledge or creativity, playing off a theme. Sometimes it is no more than a concluding line or a throw-away to shoe horn their post into the theme. We are very casual about that. The whole point is for […]

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This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

‘Tis the Season for Evictions [Updated]

 

justice and COVID-19Mitch and the Gang, along with the leader* of the House Republican’ts, happily played Grinch to all but their paymasters in the corporate elites. They continued to willfully extend the pain and harm to all the Americans they not so secretly hate for electing President Trump twice. The forgotten Americans must be shoved back down the memory hole if the GOPe is to rise again to its lucrative faux leadership role. So, the uncounted Americans facing eviction from home or loss of a small business got only a Life Saver pealed off from a Life Savers® roll into their stocking.

The federal moratorium on home evictions was only extended to the end of January 2021. It was to be left to the 2021 Democrat-controlled new House and Senate to leverage the government-created personal and business debt crisis into a leftist bloodless revolution. Thankfully, President Trump has effectively vetoed this insult to non-elite Americans. He should do more than demand $2,000 per person; he should answer more of the pork-barrel with a non-partisan populist demand for government to assume some of the private debt imposed by government edict.

Member Post

 

Goal-setting is a common theme I seem to return to here on Ricochet, and as 2020 is nearing its end (and I’ve been setting up my 2021 bullet journal), I have been thinking about what my goals will be for next year. I don’t like to call them “New Year’s Resolutions” for some reason. Maybe […]

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