For Pho’s Sake

Photographs by Richard Baxter.

I owe it to Martha Goes Green, a recipe book like no other.

Most dishes have been worth the time and care to follow to the letter, until familiarity bred improvisation and I threw caution out of the pot, to create dishes of my own.

Mushroom risotto, carrot and lentil soup, pea and feta frittatas, but none has embedded into our lives, requiring no tweaking, like the vegetarian pho. A glance at the ingredients on first go read like a who’s who of the spice world. Writing the shopping list gave me cramps- it read longer than flash fiction.

Peeling, chopping, counting out pieces- the preparation was a meditation in beauty, as I composed a still life of cinnamon sticks, shallots, star anise, ginger, garlic, cardamon and cloves that spoke of goodness, an abundance of sensory delights.

Bubbling and boiling, filling the house with the scent of the seductive brew, we waited, salivating in preparation for the feast.

three little birds trill

final medley- spice of life

transcend sum of parts

I laid out finely chopped chilli, coriander, garden fresh Vietnamese mint, spring onion with equal parts bite and crunch, and a citrus tang of quartered lime.

Long thin strands of vermicelli floated in the steaming bowls before us, coloured with a sprinkling of this and that from the selection on the table. The chilli made us feel alive and we ate our fill, indulging till the last drop.

bowlful of fragrance

trill song of bird’s eye chilli

savoured final slurp

Many more enjoyable serves have followed, particularly once my partner was inspired to pick up the recipe and recreate the dish, meaning there are times I can wait idly as the pleasures of pho magically transpire, steam unfurling in a pattern of our signature dish.


Prompt courtesy of RonovanWrites’ Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge two word prompt (trill, final).

Postscript: not wanting to breach copyright, I didn’t include the recipe in the original post, BUT, I have since found the very recipe published online which I assume has the authors’ okay, as they have been featured in that publication. Here it is: THE RECIPE!!! If you try it, let me know how you go. Bon appetit! or perhaps I should say Ăn nào!

47 thoughts on “For Pho’s Sake

      1. No, I don’t make pho…I meant you make pho too, in addition to being a great blogger, reading a lot, working, being a great mom and partner, and all around wonderful human being 😉 All that was in the “too.” I’ll have to work on my implications.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is very sweet of you, thank you for the kind words, but just to clarify: I don’t tend to post about my failings or areas needing work (it would be a looonnng post). What you get here is the best of haha. Also, the recipe is soo easy- if you have time (actually, after the first go when it isn’t familiar, it gets super easy to make)- I highly recommend you give it a go!!!


  1. Thank goodness you provided a link to the recipe after the enticing photos, story and haiku. We need more food haiku — it really fits the form–another form of nature (when vegetarian — that’s my bias) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, was glad to have found it. Let me know how you go if you try it out. Some other recipes from the book are in that link too- all vegetarian, some vegan. In fact, the pho is actually vegan. Food is a great inspiration for writing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I ‘ve started to assemble what I’m going to use. Decided to slow cook a vegetable base overnight in my slow cooker. Winter is a great time for doing that sort of thing. Thanks for letting me know about the other recipes..I’ll take a look.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love using a slow cooker as the flavours blend while you’re sleeping, working or what not…it’s good when it’s cold. I don’t use it much in the summer as it would heat up the place.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Susan! I realised where I’d seen your blog name! I love the response you wrote to Robert Okaji’s ‘How to Write a Poem’ – particularly the last two stanza’s. Incidentally, it was through Bob’s blog that I came across the haibun which got me reading about it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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