The Beverage of Gods

Coffee

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of "berries" from the Coffea plant. Coffee plants are cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, India and Africa. The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded arabica, and the less sophisticated but stronger and more hardy robusta. The latter is resistant to the coffee leaf rust, Hemileia vastatrix, but has a more bitter taste. Once ripe, coffee beans are picked, processed, and dried. Green (unroasted) coffee beans are one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Once traded, the beans are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor, before being ground and brewed to create coffee.

Western influences, starting in 1511 CE when the first diplomatic mission from the Portuguese arrived at the court of Ayutthaya, have created dishes such as foi thong, the Thai adaptation of the Portuguese fios de ovos, and sangkhaya, where coconut milk replaces unavailable cow's milk in making a custard.[17] These dishes were said to have been brought to Thailand in the 17th century by Maria Guyomar de Pinha, a woman of mixed Japanese-Portuguese-Bengali ancestry who was born in Ayutthaya, and became the wife of Constantine Phaulkon, the Greek adviser of King Narai. Traditionally, the majority of ethnic Thai people ate with their hands like the people of India. Thai food was traditionally eaten with the right hand[19][20] while seated on mats or carpets on the floor, customs still found in the more traditional households. An important concept with dining etiquette in the Thai manner is khluk: mixing the flavors and textures from the different dishes with the rice from ones plate. Some westerners think it's a jumble of flavours, but to a Thai that's important, it's the complexity they delight in".

Historical transmission

The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century, in the Sufi Muslim monasteries around Mocha in Yemen. These venues have a large display showing the different dishes from which one can choose. In the case of Thailand, these words come to mind: intricacy; attention to detail; texture; color; taste; and the use of ingredients with medicinal benefits, as well as good flavor. According to Zilkia Janer, a lecturer on Latin American culture at Hofstra University, it is impossible to choose a single national dish, even unofficially, for countries such as Mexico, because of their diverse ethnic populations and cultures.[3] The cuisine of such countries simply cannot be represented by any single, national dish. Stews of meat, plantains, and root vegetables are the platos nacionales of several countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean: Colombian ajiaco, and the sancocho of the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Panama. Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge.

A beverage as black as ink, useful against numerous illnesses, particularly those of the stomach. Its consumers take it in the morning, quite frankly, in a porcelain cup that is passed around and from which each one drinks a cupful.

Ecological effects

Australian chef David Thompson, a prolific chef and expert on Thai food, observed that unlike many other cuisines: "Thai food ain't about simplicity. Some westerners think it's a jumble of flavours, but to a Thai that's important, it's the complexity they delight in". The traditional recipe for a rice dish could include as many as 30 varieties of rice.[30] That number has been drastically reduced due to genetic modifications.

According to Thai food expert McDang, rice is the first and most important part of any meal, and the words for rice and food are the same: khao. The most notable influence from the West must be the introduction of the chili pepper from the Americas in the 16th or 17th century. When time is limited or when eating alone, single dishes, such as fried rice or noodle soups, are quick and filling.