Wow! Where did that week go? We’ve been lost in the month-long haze that precedes our overseas departures. Always, so much to do and never enough time to finish them. By Friday night, we’re ready for a diversion.
Which is precisely what happened the Friday before last. We invited our good friends Val and Jon over for dinner and wine and talk. Val and Jon lead busy lives, too, so the evening started late. And this always happens: it goes on and on and onâ€”in a good way. A very good way. We talk about travel, work, movies, political party conventions, global climate change, world dependence on oil, endless wars, British accents, Paris hotelsâ€”anything and everything. We talk and talk and talk, eat and drink, drink and eat, and talk some more. By the time one of us glances at a clock, it’s after midnight. By the time the evening ends, it’s nearing 3 a.m. By the time we sleep, it’s nearly dawn. And by the time we hit Saturday, we’re all exhausted.
Now, everyone has a “comfort food,” and although I dislike that termâ€”something about the images it invokesâ€”I do agree there are certain times when only certain foods will suffice. For me, it’s often noodles. During my early marathon training days, before I discovered my wheat problem, I’d go out for a 15-mile run, then sink into a massive bowl of pasta before slipping into a nap. Comfort, you could say.
Today, I still need noodles for recoveryâ€”they just happen to be made from rice rather than wheat. And my all-time favorite day-after noodles have a distinctly Asian twist. They’re simple. They’re filling. They make me feel better immediately. Here’s what you do:
Boil a big batch of rice noodles.
Drain, rinse in cool water, return to warm pot and add sesame oil.
Add favorite chile sauce. (For these purposes, I wouldn’t think of using anything other than this. But whatever you use, make sure it has garlic. If not, add garlic to the noodles.)
Add cracked black pepper.
Mix and drizzle with fish sauce to taste.
Add a heap of chopped cilantro, sliced tomatoes and/or shaved cucumbers.
Mix well, taste, add more of anything necessary. Drizzle with lime for tang.
And that’s it! There’s something about the bulk of noodles, combined with so much chile and garlic that immediately clears my mind and gives me enough energy to make it through the day. For a more substantial meal, add stir-fried tofu or chicken.
And then get a good night’s sleep.