Pho: Vietnamese Soup

Vietnam flagThe first time I had pho, I was at a Vietnamese restaurant in Virginia with my then boyfriend, Chris, and his family. Chris, who is Vietnamese, told me that Pho is a soup eaten everyday in Vietnam, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I found that intriguing, so I ordered some for lunch that day. He told me to order the large portion (ha ha ha, very funny, Chris). It was enormous and could easily have fed a village. If you go to a Vietnamese restaurant, order the Pho. Just be sure to choose the small version.

Kid Approved. Little Boy G never liked soup until he tried Pho. What else is there to say?

My take. Here is my (very) simplified recipe:

· Several packets of Goya Pollo (chicken) seasoning (if you prefer beef, go with a good beef flavored seasoning. Trader Joe’s has a good one. OR, just use oxtail stock, like the Vietnamese do. If you have the time, it’s worth it!)

· Thinly sliced flank steak (ask the grocer to do it, or buy it ready made at Asian markets)

· Half a Package Angel Hair Pasta or Vermicelli

· Fresh Cilantro

· Fresh Basil

· Spring Onions

· 1 Jalapeño

· Bean Sprouts

Prep. Fill a large pot with water, and heat to boiling. Add the Pollo seasoning…probably three or four packets? Carefully season to your own preference. (If you have an Asian market nearby, you can purchase Pho seasoning cubes, instead. You’ll need to add salt, however, based on my experience.) Add the pasta. Boil until tender. Add the meat. Boil until it loses its pink color.

Serve. Once the soup is done, serve your child some (Include enough noodles and meat to keep him busy and satisfied). My son never ate soup until he tried Pho. And now, he LOVES it and will actually attempt to eat other soups as well (not much success in finishing them yet).

Adults Only. Now for your part…for your serving, you can add the basil, the cilantro, sliced jalepeno peppers, and the bean sprouts. A pinch of lime is also good and customary, as is hoisin sauce.

TIP: Let your child have both a spoon and chopsticks for this meal. Chopsticks are such a novelty to them, that they are distracted enough to eat whatever is in front of them.

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Eat it, Eat it Sam I am…

Before becoming a parent, I was told how hard it was to be a good one. Never once did I suspect that feeding my child would be the most difficult aspect. But it has been, and I know plenty other parents who feel the same way.

All my son ever wanted to eat was macaroni and cheese. And not just any macaroni and cheese: Michelinas’ frozen macaroni and cheese. Any other brand just wouldn’t do. So, I did this for a while, and even threw in some Michelina’s frozen fettucini into the fray, which he seemed to like. I didn’t feed him these things all the time, of course. I tried some homemade recipes, too. The problem was, he hated them! My son is picky. And if he tries to eat something that he hates, he will vomit. The projectile type. We’ve done this hundreds of times, and it’s always the same story: A big mess for mom to clean up and all the contents of his once filled belly now on the floor, which does nothing to ease my sense of him getting enough to eat.

I started to realize that comfort food is what kids (my kid anyway) crave. Mac and cheese definitely fits in with that theory. As does fettucini and the all too popular Chicken Nuggets. So, I searched my cookbooks and the Internet for the types of food that were quick and easy to make, and which he would love. I decided that rather than rely solely on American favorites, I would use the recipes of mothers around the world to create my arsenal of kid quisine that was sure to please. And here are the fruits of my labor:

 

Let’s start with a recipe from the land of my birth, The United Kingdom, Cottage Pie (It’s called Shepherd’s Pie if you use lamb). Please see my next post for the delicious and simple recipe.