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I’ve written before, in this series of posts, about my fondness for “hot stuff,” at least in the culinary sense. But I haven’t written much here, other than perhaps in a few comments, about my fondness for Thai food. That’s been a staple ever since my stepson Sam introduced me to it decades ago, and ever since I visited some of Pittsburgh’s Thai restaurants (Thai Me Up, on the South Side Flats, the Spice Island Tea House in Oakland (not CA, but PA), Pad Thai (was that where I enjoyed a delicious lunch with @jamesofengland a few years ago, or do I have that wrong?), and perhaps my favorite of local establishments for SE Asian food, The Golden Pig, just a few miles down the road from me, not far from where those icons of American music, Perry Como and Bobby Vinton, were born. (Funny, that.)
If I hadn’t come by my love of Thai food honestly over the years I’d have fallen for it hard during a visit to the country a couple of years ago, and most especially during the course of a day-long cooking school during which I concocted several authentic dishes with the assistance of an authentic Thai chef. Everything I made that day was delicious, aesthetically appealing, and winsome.
But that wasn’t the sum total of my experience of the country or the food. The tastes of the walk-through markets, the sai oua (northern Thai sausage), the green papaya salad, perhaps the most delicious dish I’ve ever eaten. The pineapples, the bananas, and the mangoes. (Lord. I used to pick mangoes off the trees in northern Nigeria when I was a child. I’d forgotten how absolutely delicious such things are when they come straight off the tree.)