Tuesday Dinner: Vietnamese Chicken Noodle (Pho Ga)

Schitt’s Creek didn’t win a single Emmy last night. If they had to lose, at least they lost to Fleabag, which even Dan Levy himself loves…but not giving an Emmy to Catherine O’Hara? Really? What is wrong with those people? (On the other hand, Billy Porter’s win soothed some of the hurt of Schitt’s Creek’s loss.)

I’m embarrassed to admit that I was so disappointed that I cried. I can’t believe I let myself get so caught up in an awards ceremony, but sometimes that happens—sometimes I just believe. One year I was absolutely convinced that I was going to win the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. Most of winning the grand prize (I thought) seemed to be filling out all the boxes correctly, putting all the stickers in all the right places, remembering to put on enough postage—obviously, this was many years ago, before the entries started being submitted online. My thinking went: so many entries must be disqualified on technicalities, and someone has to win. Why shouldn’t it be me?

I was convinced I was going to win. I arranged my schedule to be home on sweepstakes day, so that Ed McMahon would be able to deliver my check to me in person. I wore clothes that I thought would look good on camera. I cleaned the living room and straightened up the porch. I was ready.

But Ed McMahon never came, and I didn’t get my big check. I didn’t cry that time, though; I just settled into working for my money like everyone else.

All of that has nothing to do with dinner, however. Let’s get on to that, shall we? I went on the school camping trip last week and came back a smidge under the weather. What I really wanted to eat was some restorative chicken soup. This one’s made with lots and lots of ginger, along with many warming spices: allspice, cardamom, star anise, peppercorns, and cinnamon. The broth itself is not spicy, but I made a pretty incendiary sauce that you can stir in if you like the heat (like I do). There’s also lime to squeeze, and basil from my parents’ garden, so the soup is fresh and zingy.

(Note that you do need to heat this soup all the way to hot, until the noodles soften all the way. I put them into the jars slightly undercooked, so they don’t end up soggy.)

The salad today is a cabbage and melon slaw, with more herbs—cilantro and mint. The salad dressing is one of my favorites, made from lime juice and fish sauce and brown sugar, with heat from red pepper flakes and garlic, and a little bit of fragrant sesame oil.

Instead of crusty levain bread, we’ve got softy dinner rolls, enriched with cream and honey in the dough. Dessert is banana cake with cream cheese frosting, a kid favorite in our house. Enjoy your supper, everyone!

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