thus far, i have lived in 5 countries, 3 states, and quite honestly, more towns & cities than i care to recall. in the here & now, i have lived in baltimore for just over 9 years. i have
owned my home paid my mortgage for 6 years. due to all the moves growing up, this setting down deep roots in one place is intoxicating.
my grandparents' first home in america was a small one bedroom apartment. the one bedroom housed mattresses on the floor for my two youngest uncles, one of them only just 15, and sometimes
my father peter. in the living room, i had a small cot, while my grandparents and an assortment of aunts and cousins slept on the ground. we upgraded to another apartment down the street, this one a 2 bedroom.
i never once thought we'd be there forever. i was right. when i was 11 i moved overseas with peter and his new job and his new family. i didn't come back home until i was 18, in college and eager to get out. after school, like clockwork i moved whenever leases ran its course. the packing. the unpacking. i fear i have never outgrown the nomadic lifestyle. i don't know how to properly unpack a box, not throw away said box or even let go of the ability to live out of a suitcase.
i have been on my own for a very long time. i can't remember the last time i
was home visited my parents. this beef noodle dish (not to be confused with pho. and please don't confuse it, Wandering Chopsticks will kick your ass, and i got her back) reminds me of my stepmother. her mother is from Hue and this dish made an appearance regularly at the dinner table. it was not my favorite. in fact, i would usually make a sandwich to eat while the rest of the family slurped their way thru their bowls. like all the recipes in the cookbook i will refer to, food is used to show love, to show forgiveness, to bring home a lost child, and for me, it is home.
i initially wanted to attempt the recipe from Pauline Nguyen's memoir cookbook Secrets of the Red Lantern (with recipes by Luke Nguyen & Mark Jensen) but ended up meshing it with WC's version. i will not be posting the cookbook recipe, as there are so many other dishes in the book i want to create & post properly about, and i can't very well post every recipe in the book! just know that WC's version is, in my opinion, much more authentic and easier to follow.