How to give a big Thai party, living small.
|Kalasin kids check out the Farang|
Under one of these homes, some 70 neighbors had gathered to welcome us and our Thai friends from Bangkok, a day's drive to the west. It was also a chance for the youngest children to see their first Farang (their name for pink skinned Westerners). They peered at us from a safe distance and fled giggling if we made eye contact.
Because it was a Thai party, it was a feast, and every morsel was fried or boiled over one wood fire topped by a small iron grate. No mulitple-burner ranges, no ovens, and certainly no microwaves. From this simple setup, one cook produced a dozen dishes of chicken, fish, pork and exotic vegetables, aggressively seasoned but delightfully delicate too. Party-goers stopped to help with the chopping and peeling as needed.
|The street in front of the party house.|
At home in America a party like that would take weeks of planning, cost hundreds, and require a day off work. In Kalasin, invitations went out the day before on the verbal grapevine. Guests brought what they had on hand -- a chicken, some herbs, a tin of rice. They even brought their own plates and spoons from home.
What little fuss for such a memorable, joyful party. And no clean-up. It seemed easy and natural for Thai farmers who have mastered the art of living small.
Note -- No photos of the party itself. We were participants, not observers, so we put our cameras away.
This post appeared in slightly different form in my other blog, www.living-small.com, August 8, 2011.