• Posted by Su-Mei Yu on May 13th, 2009, 5:55 PM

    The monsoon rain started to fall in a great crescendo. A couple of elderly friends and I had barely settled down to lunch when the dark sky burst open with heavy rain, followed by crashing thunder and flashes of lighting. Within minutes, the glass panes of the dining room facing the walkway at the Suan Dusit Rajabhat University in Bangkok, where my friends taught culinary arts, were sheeted with streams of water.

    Among several dishes my friends’ students had prepared for us was a plate of steamed bundles of sadow, bitter buds and leaves of the neem tree. These deep verdant buds began to sprout as soon as the rain arrived, covering the top of their massive trees like green umbrellas. “It is as if Mother Nature sensed we need extra bitter greens to protect us from unpredictable weather.” One of my friends said, as the other chimed in with an ancient and familiar Thai proverb, kom bpen ya, wan bpen roam—“bitterness is medicine, sweet is wind.” We nodded together in agreement. To us, this proverb is one of many exemplifying our people’s philosophy of health and well-being. That is, we are one with Mother Nature and our food is medicine. Read on… »

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