Happy Lunar New Year!
Vietnamese New Year (Tết) is early this year, landing on February 1.
Here's an accidental revelation as I was preparing for Tết. I have a deep fondness for phở, our national dish. I grew up watching my mom make it and later, made it myself from her recipe. Her “recipe” is a list of ingredients with lots verbal encouragement - that's it.
It’s worth noting that the phở making process is an indelible sensory mingling of nurture, togetherness and home. The smell nabs you from the first step, charring the onions, and permeates the house as the pot simmers for hours. Mom never measured, neither do I. A few weeks ago - after decades of homemade improvised phở - I followed a written recipe to the letter. Andrea Nguyen’s recipe, because Andrea never lets you down. It was my best phở ever. Seriously delicious, and made me super proud. At last, it’s as good as Mom’s.
While you're making stock, take some too, with this cool journal.
It’s a place to jot down a couple lines a day, for five years. Each day of the year takes you back to the same page so you can see what you were up to last year, two years ago, etc. There is a prologue and epilogue section for each year as well as charming illustrations that subtly help with organization of the journal. Also it’s undated, so you can start whenever you wish. - Who says chronicling has to start on January 1?
Note appointments, quote of the day, even the weather. Or skip the day if you aren’t feeling it. No pressure.
An ideal diary for people who don’t like to keep diaries.