It was now Sunday. We had so much food left over from this past Friday that I decided to make some Vietnamese beef noodle soup called “Pho” to help cook off the rest of the sliced beef. I figured that since I was making it, I should just go all out and have everyone over again to enjoy it with me. We ended up having a BYOB Party…Bring Your Own Bowl. I didn’t have enough large bowls to serve everyone so I just texted my friends to bring their own. Hehe, what a great idea!
I went to the Asian grocery store and picked up some ingredients. When I got back home, I got started on the broth. It takes a long time to prepare the broth and we were on a limited time schedule. In a large pot of water, I threw in some beef bones, some chunks of beef shank steak, some star anise seeds, cloves, an onion, a cinnamon stick, and some salt and fish sauce and then let everything just simmer.
Tary and I then briefly left the house to drive into Boston for our 3D/4D ultrasound appointment. It was a bit of a hike to get there and parking wasn’t that easy to find through the downpour. We were both very excited though to take a sneak peek at our little guy! The whole experience was definitely worth it.
When we got there, we had to wait about a half hour for the previous couple to finish up. When it was our turn, we went into a large room with a bed, the ultrasound machine on the far side of the bed, a sofa on the other side, a projector over the bed which was displaying an image on a screen toward the foot of the bed, and a computer monitor on the wall next to the sofa.
Tary hopped on the bed and the nurse (attendant?) started with some normal ultrasound imagery and we got to hear Baby’s heartbeat again. The sound is distinct, a little weird, but it never gets old. We also got the nurse to confirm that Baby is a boy. Finally, some actual confirmation!
The next part was unforgettable. The nurse switched on this 3D/4D mode and I was pretty much speechless. I can’t fully describe how we felt as we saw various images of Baby but I guess the closest thing is an overwhelming feeling of love for him. I can’t wait until he’s finally born! Tary kept commenting on how much he looked like me. Hehe, hopefully he only has the good parts.
When the session was over (which flew on by), they gave us a DVD with a recording of the entire session. They also gave us some still photos of Baby that they took throughout the session. It’ll be exciting to show Baby one day when he’s older what he looked like before he was born. It’s kind of crazy for the mind to take it all at once. Haha, my friend says it’s like Total Recall.
So back home we went and when we got there, I quickly started simmering the Pho broth again. Normally you would let it simmer for many hours. We only did it for about 3 or 4 hours due to our time constraints. I was a little worried that the broth wouldn’t have a chance to extract all of the flavors out of the bones and meat.
Well, my friends started showing up. Actually, I think 12 people showed up in total, each with their own bowls in hand. They all waited patiently for me to finish cooking everything. I was being a little bit of a Pho snob when my friend A.D. kept trying to suggest things to cook in the broth and I kept refusing. Cambodian people call this dish K’tieu and I often find that when Khmer people eat it, they often add things to the broth to make it much sweeter than how it’s typically made. Pho is all about the savory broth and the thinly sliced meat that goes along with the noodles. When you are given a bowl of Pho, you are supposed to taste the broth first and then you add fish sauce, fresh lime juice, hoisin sauce, and hot sauce to taste. When you add all of this extra stuff to the broth before even tasting it, I think it is slightly insulting to the person who worked so hard to make the broth.
Anyways, my friend A.D. was really helpful in other areas (when he wasn’t trying to K’tieu-ize my Pho). He helped me cook the rest of the noodles while I precooked the sliced beef. When that was all done, everyone came and ladled the broth into their respective bowls. Then everyone found a place to eat, whether it was around the kitchen table or standing by the counters. I was pretty nervous how the Pho would be received. It was only my second time making it…ever. And this was a lot different than the last time I made it. But from the sounds of everyone slurping the noodles and broth, I think it went over pretty well. Hehe, hopefully they weren’t trying to spare my feelings. I know where I can make improvements next time. Just remember to BYOB!