One of my "someday" projects:

a small keyboard, plus a tiny LCD screen. All you can do is type text files and save them. Then I guess it’s got a USB key or something so you can plug it into a real computer to get the text off of there. I’m just incapable of actually writing anything these days, and phone keyboards are right out, so I have to find a little bit of internet if I want to blog while I wait for a flight.

I guess just a keyboard that plugs into a phone would work fine; then I could just use whatever notepad program. In fact, they probably make those. I should look into this.

Point is, can we talk for a minute about Thai food? And where has it been all my life? I’ve fancied myself a bit of an Indonesian chef (despite the fact that the closest I’ve ever been to the place was its colonial oppressor), a Japanese chef (despite the fact that I’m not really okay with buying a lot of fish) and an Indian chef (despite the fact that Indian food is so heavy the beatles should have written “I Want You/Indian Food Is So Heavy”)

I sort of wrote it off kinda like I’ve written off China and Africa for now: I’m sure it’s great, but it’s a whole vast world that I haven’t even started to explore, and I have a lot of other interests to check out first. I didn’t know what I was missing, and here’s maybe why: our culture has really uneven food experiences. Your day-to-day Western food might be pretty mediocre, and then once a month you go out to a fancy restaurant and it’s awesome. So great Italian or French restaurants really exude confidence. They say “you are having a special meal right now!” On the other hand, great Thai restaurants cost $8-12, have some pretty average decor, and the food tastes very good. They don’t aim to be the best meal you’ve had all year. And the thing is, they don’t have to. In Thailand, I had pretty consistently great food, every meal, every day. It’s all fresh, it’s all cooked by experts, and it’s all cheap. If you live in a world like that, you don’t need to have occasional splurges. It’s like fresh air: living in Seattle, the idea of an oxygen bar seems absurd, but if you lived in Shanghai, it’d probably seem like a nice indulgence. Needless to say, having pretty great food/air all the time is probably healthier than these things being mostly crummy but occasionally awesome.

Here are some reasons that Thai food is great:

- most dishes use only one pot.

- Thai food all uses mostly the same ingredients.

- it’s cheap; even if you eat meat, you just buy a little and cut it up. You’re not serving steaks.

- it’s healthy. Probably the unhealthiest thing in it is the white rice/noodles. (note that “coconut milk has saturated fat therefore it’s bad” is false.)

- it’s easily vegetarianable by just not using meat. (most dishes still hold up well without it.)

- there are pretty well-defined Thai flavors and dishes.

- so many fruits!

Here are some reasons it’s not so great:

- there are a lot of ingredients.

- kaffir lime leaves and galangal are still not in your local mega-grocery, and often not in your local Chinese grocery.

- it’s not really fit for Seattle’s climate; here you don’t get all the nice fruits.

So that’s where my cooking interests are going to be heading these days. Any of you enjoy Thai cooking, and have any recommendations?

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