Thursday, May 28, 2009

Blogging is hard (but catching catfish is harder)

I started this blog because I wanted to write about True Thai Restaurant, but then we got so very busy I stopped blogging. Then we expanded and I was too busy to blog for a while. Then we decided to be open on Sundays and I decided it was time to blog again.

I like writing about True Thai because I've been dreaming about having my own Thai restaurant since I was a little girl. What I hear from you when you come into the restaurant is that you want more stories about that little girl, and less stories about True Thai and food. Sorry but the little girl only cares about food!

But I will compromise with you. I will tell you about how I learned True Thai's recipes from my mother.

Today's story is about how I learned to make catfish salad.

When I was young each summer my friends would go to the beach to swim and play volleyball. Not Anna. I would go to our family fruit orchard to spend the summer in a house without electricity to help my mother feed the thirty workers who cared for our durian, mango, rambutan and mangosteen trees. Did I mention the catfish pond yet?

My mom gave me a choice: I could take the net and catch the catfish, or I could cut their heads off. I chose to be the catfish catcher.

I took the net and would pull 20 catfish from our pond each morning. They weighed a kilogram apiece so I had to make many trips from the pond to where my mother and I would make the catfish salad. Sometimes the catfish would slip out of my mother's hands and it was my job to catch them again as they tried to run away. This made me very mad. I wasn't sure if I was mad at my Mom for losing the catfish, or at the catfish for not wanting us to eat them.

After I had caught all the catfish I then had to gather the green mangoes, but that is another story.

True Thai uses American catfish, and I pay someone else to catch them and cut their heads off. Otherwise it's the same recipe my mother and I used to feed our orchard workers. In Thailand, even our fruit pickers eat well!