In culinary terms ‘stewing can best be described as the process of combining solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables (such as carrots, potatoes, beans, peppers and tomatoes, etc.). While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, wine, stock, and beer are also common. Seasoning and flavourings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), allowing flavors to mingle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stew).
No – this isn’t a blog post about cooking, though the analogy can be used to describe my emotions and physical state. Although I have taken a Thai cook class and a basic sense of what ingredients and spices are added to the typical Thai meal, in this case, the solid food in this stew is me and my and my family (and mother in-law), traveling for a month in Thailand. We are not used to the heat in south east Asia, to the analogy for stewing in the heat is quite true.
Add some Thai spices; shallots (Culture), garlic (language), green and red chilies (history), dried or fresh coriander (religion), Thai chili powder (festivals), galangal (wildlife-elephants, poisonous snakes and giant insects), green peppercorns (interactions with other tourists), lemongrass (soldiers in the streets – carrying flowers and bottled water (not guns), turmeric (missing friends), kaffir lime leaves, and fresh basil (incredibly gently and polite people).
As in a typical stew, we have added large amounts of bottled water to the broth, and beer ;>
All those spices need time to simmer and blend to allow the flavors to mingle.
Even after a month in Thailand, the flavor of the stew is not quite right. Too Spicy or Too Sweet ?. My taste buds can’t seem to get it right; and my heart and emotions need more time to stew and enjoy all of the Thai spices and flavors.