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“… growing  up  in   Chiang Mai,  a northwestern province of  Thailand.   I woke early every  morning before  school to the smell of fresh basil, the sweet sting of coarsely chopped chili, and the fragrant notes of jasmine from the rice that Yahi, my grandmother, had put out to soak. Sleepily I would make my  way to the  kitchen  to help  Yahi prepare  breakfast  for  the monks from Wat Buddha, a local temple. Shortly after sunrise,  and to the sound of the rooster's crow I carefully placed each   bowl on a  bamboo  tray with  freshly  cut  orchids  from our garden.The sweet smell of cooked jasmine rice now filled our home, as Yahi closed her eyes to taste each dish, and nodding me with her approval. As the monks arrived, walking in small groups of three or five, we worked together to plate our humble  offerings.  I filled their bowls with rice, and Yahi served each  dish finishing with a  garnish of fresh cilantro.  The jasmine scented steam billowed up to kiss the faces of our guests, which were bowed to us in thanks and prayer.Since I was just a young child helping Yahi before school cooking has been a deep and enduring connection to my culture, family, and friends.  It's my honor to share it with you today,   and I hope you enjoy…”


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