Nervous Knots

True Confessions and Crochet

Pookie’s Pad Thai

I grew up in a beef-eating household. Charcoal grilled or oven broiled steak (always well done), chicken fried steak, pot roast, hamburgers, meat loaf, spaghetti with meat sauce…if it was beef, it was for dinner.

You see, in addition to being a veterinarian, Doc was a beef rancher. We ate eggs, but otherwise chicken was a dirty word in our house. We got pork sausage for breakfast sometimes, but dinner was beef and more beef.

Once Doc even had the local butcher cure us some “beef bacon.” I don’t know what everyone else thought about it, but I thought it was a poor substitute for what we should’ve been eating.

Pookie’s dad had similar tastes in food: Meat and potatoes, please. Salad was a garnish.

Pookie’s mom, though…she grew up in the Austrian-German culinary tradition, and that woman could cook. Until I ate at my mother-in-law’s table I never knew I liked asparagus, pork roast, sauerkraut, or white bread stuffing. I’d never heard of potitza, nor sampled such delectable stuffed cabbage.

At some point my mother-in-law decided that while she would, for the most part, indulge her husband’s tastes, she would raise sons with adventurous palates. She wanted them to be able to cook well and not be afraid to try something new.

In the early days of Pookie+Michele, long before Chewie and Dobby arrived, we spent a weekend in NOLA, where we had a daily breakfast of forgettable meat and eggs and the most delectable Cajun-seasoned potatoes. When we got home, Pookie made it his mission to “reverse engineer” the seasoning on the potatoes.


And so our true culinary adventures began.

Now, I’m a good cook. I’ve mastered traditional regional American classics, along with certain Mexican, German, and Italian specialties. I’ve taken my mother-in-law’s white bread recipe and made it my own, and nobody can beat my chocolate chip cookies.

But Pookie…the man is a god in the kitchen.

When Pookie travels he takes the opportunity to explore different cuisines. When he comes home and talks about the delicious food he’s tried, he or I almost always start looking for recipes and techniques to reproduce the experience at home.

Hence our forays into Slovenian comfort food, Irish comfort food, Asian stir fry, and my current favorite, pad Thai.

Flavorful, slightly chewy noodles. Tender, crisp vegetables. Grilled chicken coated in a spicy but not-too-hot sauce.

To. Die. For.

Thank you, Pookie’s Mom, for raising this man to love new and different food.

And Pookie. Oh Pookie, thank you for the adventures. And the pad Thai.

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This entry was posted on June 22, 2015 by in Stories and tagged , , , , .

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