Pad Thai and the Noble Truth

After posting the Thai Flavor Profile, there was only one logical thing for me to do next. Make pad thai for dinner. I became so enamored with this self-imposed charge that common sense fell by the wayside.

  • In the dead of winter, I traversed to several grocery markets in search of fresh lemon grass.
  • Discouraged by the lack of inventory, I even considered purchasing seeds in order to nurture a potted lemon grass plant of my very own.
  • The variety of rice noodle products lead to an uncharted stream of consciousness in the middle of the grocery aisle.
  • A glance at Amazon morphed into a time-consuming hunt for Thai chili and curry pastes. I landed on a jar of chili paste that supposedly has an infinite shelf life.

All of this was above and beyond my normal call of duty. I kept telling myself that the fuss was worth it. Now I have a few special ingredients that will set my shrimp pad thai apart from mediocrity.

Finally, the night came for me to execute this culinary masterpiece. With the Thai Flavor Profile and 5 Basic Steps to Building Flavor, I exuded confidence in my ability to produce excellence. A batch of pad thai was ready in a few short minutes and upon completion, I took a final taste to determine my initial analysis. It was good but not great. Something was off…the texture of the noodles maybe? Bummer.

The meal was actually a huge hit for my family. Everyone gladly cleaned their plates {no bribery involved}. They also welcomed its return in the form of leftovers. Me on the other hand, I was super critical of the dish. Maybe that is because I went to all that effort to find some of the ingredients. Or perhaps it is because I didn’t think that it was blog-worthy material because it wasn’t perfect.

I admit that I occasionally fall prey to that {pie in the sky} unrealistic ideal in food blogger planet where every meal is perfect. It appears perfect. It smells perfect. It tastes perfect. Oh, and here is the recipe. It is perfect too.

So today, I am choosing to highlight the imperfection. Does imperfection always have to be associated with failure? No. Good resides among imperfection. It can turn into an opportunity for refinement. At the very least, it serves as a subtle reminder that we are all a work in progress…even my shrimp pad thai.




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