I’ve touched on this before, but I don’t think I’ve done rice justice in my blog.
Rice is an integral part of life. The most common greeting is “Have you eaten rice yet?” (rather than “Hi.”) If you are in the process of eating rice when someone walks by, the greeting becomes, “eat rice!” If there’s no rice involved, it’s not a meal. It’s just a snack, or literally, “play eating.”
So…. some eating related pictures.
There is a picture of a slightly bloody, skinned pig being chopped up, if you’d rather not see it. It’s the eleventh picture from the top, after the one of a three-year-old with a machete.
Rice harvesting is just about over. The primary school students harvested their little plot of land. Imagine my surprise when, at the end of class, everyone took those rice-cutting hooks out of their desks!
There’s nothing like starting the day off with fried fish, raw fish and chilies ‘soup’, fish curry, raw veggies that you might mistake for weeds, coconut water, fried bananas, bananas in coconut milk, watermelon, papaya salad so spicy it’ll make you cry… and of course endless baskets of sticky rice. We had all slept at a temple, and we ate this meal around seven a.m. The other women had been up since four, chopping and pounding and frying. I, the lazy one of the bunch, rolled off my straw mat bed around 6, in time to go present breakfast to the monks.
Presenting a morning meal to monks. On the morning I described above, I was too busy being honored with the job of handing the food over to take pictures. The picture below is from my first month at site. The monks sit in a row. Lay people take turns presenting each dish of food to the head monk, who takes some of the food and passes it on to the next monk. There are usually four or five monks present, but it depends on the temple. There’s a lot of “wai” -ing involved. Preparing food and presenting it to monks is one of the many things my Thai friends do to “make merit” and ensure good things for this life and the next.
Large celebrations, large pots. These ladies are preparing for one of many meals in celebration of the marriage of my neighbor. They hired someone to cook, but all the women neighborhood women were involved in the chopping, pounding, chopping, pounding…
The wedding celebration preparations took over the entire street. Mom, dad, and Aunt Bunny fit right in… (this was last April). The ladies were put to work wrapping rice and bananas in banana leaves. These little packages are boiled, and the rice and banana become gooey.
I’ve tried hacking open coconuts many times, with little success… so I turned the job over to my 3-year-old host nephew. (Not really. He already had the machete in his hands when I found him. I took it away after I took the picture.)