Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pad Thai, with or without ketchup

This was our lunch, leftovers. Looks good, doesn't it? It's Pim's pad Thai, old, old news but so, so good. This one with tofu and no bean sprouts (just poor excuses for noodles as far as I'm concerned). We have garlic chives in the herb garden and eggs from the farmers market. And it was just awesome.

That said, I think it's strange that bloggers all over are apologizing for approximating a pad Thai with ketchup before trying this recipe. Sure, that's just not the same. Sure, it's not authentic. But for fuck's sake, sometimes you just want some rice noodles and sauce--salty and sweet and grocery-store easy. I don't see why we all feel compelled to wallow in our previous inadequacy for--gasp!--making something that isn't perfect.

It's fun and satisfying (for some of us) and more often than not very, very tasty to do things the "right" way. I cure my own olives, make my own pasta from scratch, boil chicken carcasses for a full day to produce a rich broth that makes soups jump off the spoon...sometimes. I just as often open a can, shop at only one store, buy things in packets and jars. Because sometimes I just don't want to spend time pressing tamarind concentrate through a sieve, or driving all over town for the tiny Asian market that occasionally stocks the ready-to-use paste. (And we're one of the few rural-ish towns lucky enough to have an Asian market.)

Sometimes I want to throw four servings of noodles in the wok at once and call it good enough.

I love my Nina Simonds recipe for rice noodles with ketchup-and-fish-sauce-based sauce. I've made it a zillion times, and I'll do it again. And I'll even call it pad Thai. Without apology.

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