Monday, March 21, 2011
What the Pho?
I hate people with tans. It's not a malicious hate, more of an envious one. I know, I know...who can blame them, these people escaping the cold and dark. I forgive them, they do it because THEY CAN. I've been one of those people. My first 5 years of calling Homer 'home' I worked at a local resort hotel that closed in the winter. It was a natural thing to go to the warmth of Hawaii and work the high season there, get some sun and return to town when things started to get fired up again. The first time I came back, all tan and fit and enthusiastic, I was met with a little animosity, even hostility, from some of the longtime locals. (Oh, is it that time of year already?, the snowbirds are returning, they'd say with a wry smile) The next time I learned to hang back a little, let the tan fade before rubbing it in these poor people's faces. The cold and the dark are great and all, but everyone of us wishes we could get on a plane and go collect our fair share of vitamin D in a sunny place closer to the equator than here. Those times when the stars don't align in our favor to go south, (read: Alaska Airlines permanent fund deals did not include Hawaii or Mexico) we'll do almost anything to make the best of it. I remember one winter when my kids were quite small and we weren't going anywhere, there was a tropical themed fundraiser in town. The decorations, made by local artists, included a palm tree made out of paper mache and crepe paper. We put that tree in the corner of our tiny bakery and it lifted our spirits all winter long. Other years we travel through food. This winter I became obsessed with Pho (fuh). A vietnamese broth and noodle dish that is traditionally made with beef (pho bo). Having the need to make one that could serve both meat eaters and veggie heads alike drove me to create this mushroom version (pho chay) that can be poured over beef or mushrooms. The spicy ginger infused broth with the crunchy fresh condiments make you feel like you've just taken a quick trip somewhere exotic, and I don't mean visiting your grandma in Kansas.