I’m introducing a new category of entries: “ruam mit,” which in Thai, literally means ‘a gathering of friends’. But the term is most often used on menus to indicate a medley, i.e. “Tom Yum Ruam Mit” means tom yum soup with a combination of seafood: shrimp, fish and squid. “Pad pak ruam mit” is what else, a a stir fry of various veggies.
In this blog, it will mean an entry that covers diverse topics.
IRON CHEF: LADY MONDEGREEN
“Hayeh Kezeh,” Chairman Kaga would announce after unveiling the secret theme ingredient, setting the Iron Chef and his challenger sprinting to select their specimens. I always assumed “Hayeh Kezeh” was Japanese for “Ready, set, go!” Only when I watched “Iron Chef America” did I understand what the Chairman had been saying all along, “Allez cuisine!” I guess that’s French for “To the kitchen!”
I wonder how many chefs auditioned to be “Iron Chef America?” It would have been interesting to see Emeril Lagasse as one of them. Or a woman: how about Martha Stewart?
Casey emailed me a very thoughtful response on my last entry, where I talked about how surprised that Japan had criticised the Japanese who had been taken hostage. He mentioned something that had been missing from the news articles: that there were many young Japanese who went abroad in a quest to learn about and contribute to the world outside of Japan, but many people in Japan thought of them as non-conformist oddballs, i.e. why didn’t they stay home and contribute to Japanese institutions and Japanese society instead.
It made me think of the Peace Corps, and that America was the first country to start a national program to encourage American individuals to go abroad and help others for humanitarian purposes (education, health, infrastructure, etc), as well as to gain exposure to other societies and cultures. [If it had been three American Peace Corps or aid workers kidnapped, they would have come home with as much of a hero’s welcome as Private Lynch. ] Misguided American foreign policies have been implemented on a political/military basis (Haiti, Iraq, etc), making me cringe in shame on behalf of my government, but the existence of the Peace Corps makes me proud to be American, and thankful that I’m not Japanese.