Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I told this story before but it bears repeating. I was shopping in a supermarket in California and saw some canned lentils on sale. “Wow,” I said to the Large Lady who happened to be alongside, “that’s a great price for lentils.”

“Lentils,” she sniffed. “They’re no good to eat.”

“Sure they are. You put chopped bacon or sausage in it with some salsa and serve it over toast and it’s delicious.”

“Well,” she said, “if you’re going to fix it up.” She made it sound as if that was cheating.

I’m having to learn to cook all over again. So much of what I did was spur of the moment and depended on what was available. What is available in a Thai supermarket is a lot different. There won’t be lentils.

I got some beef roasts that were amazing. They were prime beef at a very low price. But then I found it was a special and it is gone. Beef is not a big seller in Buddhist Thailand.

One important thing to know here is if the packaging is from Japan and it says “hot.” it’s not hot at all. But if it’s from Thailand and says “spicy,” look out. It is HOT! The same is true on restaurant menus.

Much of what is on the shelves here is strange to me. There is some American stuff. I found some Prego spaghetti sauce. Alongside, at about half the price, was some Thai spaghetti sauce. I tried both. Big surprise. The Thai product is much better than the Prego sauce. In fact, the Thai sauce is the best packaged spaghetti sauce I have ever tasted.

I came to the soup aisle and started to recall what I did with soups. Soups are great to use but never as soups. They make a great base for a casserole. Some soups make excellent spaghetti sauces. Almost any clam chowder poured over a pasta works out.

My favorite are the oriental soups, you know, those envelopes they sell for about a dime in most markets. They make the basis for great instant meals. Use twice the water on the instructions. Crush the noodles before opening the package. Who wants to struggle with foot long noodles? When the water boils add the contents of the package, some pieces of cooked meat, and some instant or cooked rice. There you have it. That is a very filling, good tasting meal. I always add Tabasco, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and sometimes throw in chopped onions before the water boils.

Try it.


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