Culinary Blog

Last Friday, we got what we are all hoping was the last blizzard here in the Hudson Valley. It gave everyone on campus a much-needed snow day and a surprise three day weekend. Now, the sun this week has been warmer than it has been in months, and we’re finally starting to defrost from seemingly the longest winter I’ve ever experienced.

Long winters bring people closer together, though, as there is not much else to do but sit in the house, cook, and talk. One of the best memories of this that I have is from just two weeks ago when my friend I visited Maryland and made this Pad Thai for my mom.

Two Saturdays ago was my mom’s birthday, so I went home to celebrate with her. Being the youngest child of my siblings, I was leaving my mother empty-nested when I left for school last September. Now, she tells me that coming home to see her is her favorite treat, and our bond has grown closer than ever. Of course, I got her flowers, a cake from the bakery at CIA, took her out to dinner, and gave her a lovely card, but my ultimate love language is cooking, so cooking a few nice meals at home felt the most natural.

I brought a friend home with me to celebrate with her, and this friend was telling my mom and me that the moment they knew they wanted to pursue cooking as a career was when they learned to make Pad Thai. So, per my mother’s request, my friend taught both my mom and me how to make this Pad Thai recipe on the last night of her birthday weekend.

It was extremely spicy, but the kind of spicy that keeps you coming back for more. We drank a sweet white wine, a Reisling, to balance out the heat. At the end of the meal, my mom thoroughly thanked us for sharing this moment with her. It is an extraordinary privilege to learn and create something with your loved ones that brings us together around a nicely set table to tell stories and simply appreciate each other’s company. 

This picture is of the final plating, and my friend said it was the biggest batch of Pad Thai they’ve ever made. I’m glad we made such a big batch because my mom told me yesterday that she ate the leftovers for lunch for two days after we left. It makes me feel great to know that she continued to feel our love even after we were gone.



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