No basil. After circling through the super store gradually acquiring all the ingredients necessary for the nostalgia of Thai curry, I looked up at the herbs. No basil. Deflated, I just gave up and walked out with most, but not all, of the ingredients I needed.
This time of year for the past many, many years we traveled to Thailand. Conferences, rest, and warmth drew us or required our presence. Thailand holds a special place in our hearts. Many of our family memories include Thailand.
Like this one of a favorite restaurant on a beach. What better fun than climbing a tree while waiting for your food? I wonder what that couple thought of a small person hanging out above them while they ate.
But my kids never really loved Thai food. They ate all the western selections on the menu, countless smoothies, and chicken satay. My husband and I ate curry and lots of it.
I finally cooked my Thai curry last night sans basil. I opened the fish sauce and played jokes on the boys. “Smell this!” I’d tell them. Being the trusting sort, they did. They gagged. It smells awful. Just like its name. Fish sauce. Yuck. Yet, somehow, it is the ingredient that makes Thai food.
All the kids sat in front of bowls of chili while my husband and I sat in front of Thai curry.
Then, my daughter pipes up. That smell, its Thailand. Yes, I said. It is. And the girl who I never remember eating Thai curry dug into a bowl of rice with curry sauce.
My heart ached with nostalgia. Smells and tastes remind me more than anything else that part of my heart absorbed another place, and I’m not there anymore. I have words for this, my kids do not.
After observing my daughter’s reaction and how they consumed a huge Chinese meal on Friday night, I realize I must draw our hearts together over the dinner table.
The tendency in a move is to unknowingly leave things behind that matter. We left food behind and it’s just not working to leave it there.
It’s a good thing a new Asian grocery store opened not too far from us. Visits there are the piece we’re missing in our American life.
Our family needs more soul food and it’s not chicken fried steak.
What is your soul food? The tastes and smells that take you back to another place?