The language of food and the people we share it with

The holidays are upon us — a season of thanks, love, and spending time with family, but also of sharing food with loved ones. Learn how to make Thai fried rice — a common local dish in Thailand — and explore how food is a global language for all we share it with.

The holidays are upon us — a season of thanks, love, and spending time with family, but also of sharing food with loved ones.

Learn how to make Thai fried rice — a common local dish in Thailand — and explore how food is a global language for all we share it with.

*     *     *

As the days continue to fly by, I realized that next week is November, which means Thanksgiving is mere weeks away! And Christmas is finally next month!

I probably get more excited than I should for the holidays, but I love what they offer: plentiful opportunities to thank God for his many blessings, time to be in fellowship with family and friends, and if I’m being honest — delicious food. Not only because food is delicious, but because of all that comes with it.

For example: Every year, the women on my mom’s side of the family dedicate one whole Saturday in December to making cookies together. Also, for the past three years, I’ve attempted to recreate the Thanksgiving recipes my boyfriend’s Granny taught me when we visited her in Georgia. Food is so much more than what’s on the plate. To me, it’s about all what went into getting it on that plate and the people we share it with.

Working at World Vision, I see every day how food is universal for people and families around the world. No matter what country you’re in, food plays a similar role of gathering loved ones, offering hospitality, and nourishing the ones we care about. But many families in the communities we serve either don’t have access to enough food — let alone nutritious food — or they haven’t learned ways to prepare healthy and balanced meals. In Thailand for example, more than 6 million people still live on less than $1 a day, which contributes to almost 10% of the population’s children being malnourished.

Those numbers are sobering. But there is a lot of hope happening too, which reminds me that World Vision is working to turn those numbers around. Along with nutritional classes and the education of improved farming techniques, we’re working to bring the blessing of healthy food to more people around the world. And sometimes … miracles come with feathers.

In the World Vision Gift Catalog, you can donate a gift of two chickens to a family. Though two chickens may not seem like much — they are easy to breed, so your gift can grow and multiply to create income, be shared with neighbors, and ultimately make a better life for the whole village. It amazes and empowers me to know that a $25 gift can bring such lasting change to a family!

And eggs are both a great source of nutrition and a key ingredient to so many amazing recipes.

Wanting to expand my cooking horizons, I jumped at the chance to make a native dish from Thailand, a country where World Vision donors in the United States sponsor more than 3,200 children. I made Thai fried rice, a meal enjoyed often by Thai locals that incorporates ingredients found in the World Vision Gift Catalog, like eggs from chickens.

Though a simple recipe, I experienced moments similar to what I experience when I cook foods traditional to my family — the fragrance of the ingredients evolving as they’re combined with one another, the joy of holding fresh produce in my hands as I prepare them one by one, and ultimately, the satisfaction of seeing the finished product (mouth watering and all!).

Shauna Niequist really hit the nail on the head when she said, “Food is the language of care, the thing we do when traditional language fails us, when we don’t know what to say, when there are no words to say.” And while I don’t speak Thai, I do believe that healthy and nutritious food is a universal language that transcends generations, gratitude, heartbreak, and all the other emotions that cause us to stumble over our words.

This holiday season, my prayer is that we appreciate more than what’s on our plates. May we cherish the precious time spent with loved ones preparing the meal, give thanks for the nutrition it will bring to our body, and ultimately thank our faithful God who will always provide for us.

I’m reminded of Psalm 107:9: “For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” May we be thirsty for his presence and hungry for the will to be a blessing to families near and far this holiday season.

Below is the recipe, which you can try at home. The recipe uses crab meat, but I’ve also made it with chicken and once with beef — and all were equally scrumptious!

Ingredients: What you’ll need

  • 1 bowl steamed rice
  • 1 cup steamed crab meat
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can tomato paste (7 oz)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • ½ tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • Cucumber slices (for garnish)
  • Lime wedges (for garnish)

Instructions: What you’ll do

1. Pour oil into a wok or pan and put it on medium heat.

2. Add garlic to oil and cook until garlic becomes light brown and fragrant.

3. Add the egg and use a spatula to stir the egg until the egg yolk is fully broken.

4. Wait until the egg is almost cooked.

5. Turn the heat up and add the steamed rice, onion, crab meat, and chopped green onion into the pan and stir-fry quickly.

6. Add light soy sauce and sugar, and stir-fry until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and then turn off the heat.

7. Dish out the fried rice onto a plate.

8. Garnish with tomato, cucumber, green onion, lime, and chili sauce (optional).

9. Salt and pepper to taste.

10. Serve immediately while the fried rice is still hot!

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes

Thanks to grants, our gift to help feed the hungry will multiply four times in impact! Give to help stop hunger today.


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