02 October 2008

Aging gracefully

My daughter is exactly 4 years, 6 months and 7 days old and she knows how to hail a taxi. I'm not sure about you, but I never saw that developmental milestone coming so early!

We've had a bit of conflicting advice on how to pronounce the name of our street (in Thai). So, for the past several days, I've been using our taxi ride home from the Skytrain to try out all of the different variations. 

Each day, after we descended from the Skytrain stairs, I held my arm out and produced a downward waving gesture (a local gesture I've been instructed to use to hail a cab). And, day after day, the kids and I were greeted by a friendly driver. "Sahwahdee-kah!" I started. "Soi.... (insert variations on the pronunciation here)- kah." 

After each and every try I was met by a confused expression and I resorted to dropping my bags and holding up the appropriate number of fingers to communicate our street name. From there, understanding was reached and I was able to happily "trong-pai" my way home ("go straight"). And, every day, we got home, but apparently none of the pronunciations worked coming out of my mouth.

So, yesterday, my daughter looked at me as we departed Skytrain and said "Mama, let me take care of the cab today." Hmmmm, let's see what happens.

Her little feet hit the pavement and, without missing a beat, she identified the car that would be hers. A miniature version of the wave I'd done on days previous was thrown into the world for bait and, much to my surprise, she caught her taxi. Looking at me with an odd combination of hysterics and fiery accomplishment in her eyes, she said "Mama, this is mine... I got it, I got it!" Far be it for me to get in her way. 

I opened the door, she leaned in and, in perfectly understood Thai, she greeted the driver and politely directed him to our street. He spoke back a signal of exact understanding and we were home about three minutes later.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 15:
Egg Fu Yung
For anyone who picked up on the pun, linking my blog entry's title to this recipe, I'm sorry... I couldn't resist! Plus, this has quickly become one of my, and my kids, favorite breakfasts! 

3 tablespoons veggie oil
3 eggs, well beaten
1/2 carrot
8 mushrooms
1/2 cup bean sprouts
4 green onions
salt and pepper to taste
oyster sauce, about 1 teaspoon per person
a set of chopsticks

Shred the carrots and mushrooms (using a food processor makes the job really fast) and add, with 1 tablespoon of the oil, to a large saute pan. Cook, adding water if the pan becomes dry, until the carrots are tender. Add the green onions and bean sprouts, cook for about 2 minutes more so that they are hot to the touch. Move veggie mixture to outskirts of the pan and add the remaining oil to the center of the pan. Heat. All at once, add the eggs, using your chopsticks move the mixture quickly in a figure 8 pattern, adding the veggies into the eggs. The eggs should be firming up and the veggies should be well distributed. Use the chopsticks to push the sides of the egg down from the edges of the pan. Once the mixture becomes firm, use a large spatula and flip it. Cook for about a minute more. The Egg Fu Yung will look like a large pancake. Transfer it to a cutting board and let rest. In the meantime, heat the oyster sauce in the same pan you cooked the Egg Fu Yung in. Slice the Egg Fu Yung into wedges, serve with rice and a small dollop of oyster sauce (the sauce is strong so use lightly).

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