Monday, March 03, 2008

Patron Saint of Real Estate

John over at Devil Queen begs the question as to whether burying a little statue of St. Joseph really works when trying to sell your house. And when we were selling our last house it really did seem to help. But I can't help thinking about burying the little statue without thinking of fish sauce.

Some of you know that I am a real fan of southeast Asian cuisine. And I had decided that I would try making it myself since there's not a lot of choices around here for such fare. So I got a cookbook and started to collect the ingredients. I dutifully went to the Asian store and asked the clerk to show me their finest bottle of fish sauce. And she showed me the most ornately decorated, largest and prettiest bottle of brown liquid you could ever imagine for $1.99. I bought it and took it home.

I was so anxious to see what this sparkling little beauty had in store for me, so first thing when I got home, I opened it for a taste.

It smelled so bad that I thought I was going to get sick. Panic hit me as I realized that our agent could schedule a showing of the house at any time. And having something that foul in the house almost guaranteed sooner rather than later. This stuff could not stay.

And if I threw it in the trash, the garage would smell like rotten fish, so I did the only thing a sane person would do. I buried the bottle in the flower garden out front.

Some months later after the new owners had settled in, I noticed driving by that they were having all new landscaping done in the yard. I couldn’t help but smile as I passed, thinking of young Jorge digging up my buried treasure and thinking it was some long lost bottle of fine booze. I’d pay for the experience of seeing his face when he un-capped that bad boy.

It wasn’t until later when I read Kasma Loha-unchit’s book on Thai cooking, Dancing Shrimp that I found out that a good fish sauce doesn’t smell like that. It smells like walking on the beach. And the brand I use now, Squid Brand Fish Sauce, smells just like that.


John said...

Thanks for the story.

My wife and I love Thai food, but you really can't find any in rural Arkansas. Like you, we've been making our own and bought some fish sauce the other week from Wild Oats (technically a health food store).

Checkout Girl: "Fish sauce?" Grimaces. "That's interesting."
Me: "Sounds nasty, doesn't it."
Checkout Girl: "Umm. Well, yeah."

Fortunately, we haven't found the need to bury it.

greg said...

you're welcome to come with us any Friday, just let me know...

molly said...


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Thank you very much,