Tom Yum Gai – Lemon Grass Soup with Chicken
Today I am giving you the full menu for our school lunches. This is what the students eat over a four week period. There are actually three different menus: kindergarten, junior school and senior school. As there are some repeats I will just give you the menu for the older students. Not everyone eats the same thing at the same time. There are 1,800 students (and one small kitchen) so not everyone can have a rice based meal at the same time. So, half of the school have rice while the other half have some kind of soup. I will show you the kitchen and rice-cookers later.
Khao Mun Gai Tod – Fried Chicken on Rice
The following is the menu for the senior school:
Fried chicken with rice
Green curry with pork + cucumber with egg
Fried pork and basil on rice + chicken with fried garlic
Egg noodle soup with wonton
Rice porridge with pork
Fried rice with egg and mini sausages
Lemon grass soup with chicken + bamboo shoots with egg
Fried chicken basil + Tang-lan soup
Stir fried bamboo + Chinese sausage
Fried pork basil + omelet
Chicken curry with bamboo shoots + stir-fried cabbage
Fried thick noodle in soy source
Fried chilli with pork and long-beans + fried sausage
Noodle soup with steamed pork
Rice porridge with chicken
Orange curry + omelet
Chicken on rice
Noodles in thick gravy
Red pork with rice
I think my favourites out of this are: lemon grass soup (tom yum gai), fried chicken with rice (khao mun gai tod), egg noodle soup with wonton (ba mee nam), green curry with pork (gang kee-o waen moo), chicken curry with bamboo shoots (gang gai sai noh mai) and probably quite a few others. Before I give you the Top 10 School Lunches as voted by the students, what do you think will be their favourite meals?
The academic study of culture falls in the discipline of Anthropology or Social Anthropology. The West encountered new cultures after Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1494 AD and Vasco da Gama found the sea route to India in 1498 AD. The interest in other cultures led to a serious study of all cultures. The pioneers in this field are Franz Boas, A.R.Radcliffe Brown, W.H.R.Rivers and Sir Grafton Elliot Smith.
For Elliot Smith, all cultures had their roots in the Egyptian culture. This approach is called the diffusionism in Social Anthropology. In a modified form, the German, Leo Forbenius developed the concept of Kulturkreise or Culture Circles: that is culture spresd from many centres. There is another school which argues that each culture evolves on its own. The reality perhaps is a mixture of many elements.
Thailand’s culture is immensely rich and it is vibrantly alive. This is perhaps because it has kept alive its past traditions. Besides, these traditions are recreated and reinvented every day in the daily life of people. Buddhism has unlimited wealth and creativity. One visit to the temple of Wat Phra Kew and Wat Po would demonstrate this. Not only Loy Krathong or Songkran, rich festivals, even the day to day greetings and respect for elders tell us of the beauty of social interaction.
Even the small temples on different intersections and roundabouts tell us what prayer is or what is devotion. The most famous of all such shrines is the Erawan shrine. Smartly dressed, apparently westernised people establish their communion with the creator everyday.
This gives a vibrant sanity to Thai Culture. The bond with tradition is strong and in the language of the poet T.S.Eliot, the Thais have successfully established the “contemporaneity of the past”.