It wasn't long ago that a number of you joined me to discuss and rage against Rachael Ray's Phunky pho that featured pork and passed on the rice noodles and fish sauce. People let it all out via tweets and comments on that original post. I was gladdened to read the staunch defenses and definitions of pho.
There were missteps on Ray's pho television segment, let alone her online recipe that described pho as a Thai dish. Mistakes like those reflect the fact that a lot of people don't (yet) know enough about Asian food and culture. They are interested, but Asian foodways remain mysterious and exotic to them.
Helping people to better understand Asian cooking keeps me busy. My efforts get buoyed by your contributions to this site. A few days ago, Vivian S. emailed this strangely entertaining video from An Choi, Vietnamese restaurant in Manhattan's Lower East Side: (Note: The illustrated revolutionaries are Chinese, not Vietnamese. Oops.)
I then caught wind of journalist Andrew Lam, author of East Eats West (a poignant collection of essays on the Vietnamese diaspora), making remarks on what happens when someone sells your culture back to you. To illustrate his point, Andrew used taste, quoting yours truly on Rachel Ray's faux pho pas (sorry, that was unavoidable).
Hillarious or serious, via video or type, we're all making inroads in the fight against poorly-prepared pho.
Happy Thanksgiving. I appreciate your stopping by and putting in your 2 cents.