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Food, glorious food!

You could be forgiven for thinking althat almost as soon as one meal finishes, plans begin for the next feed.

Food revolves around so much of life here, whether it’s office workers scrolling through their phones to see what they’d like delivered, or out in the country, where the soil is scoured for edibles, be it plants, insects or even fish.

(Yes fish! A direct consequence of flooding fields to grow rice means there can be an abundance of fish along with the rice crop. Frogs too. More of that in a couple of months when the rice is ready to harvest).

With food and eating such a dominant element of the day we made sure eating could become a feature of our house. Knowing so many family could turn up meant we had to think a bit bigger than usual.

Our balcony and table got its first test last weekend when we invited our closest family for lunch. By rights that Hana, her mum, her brother and his wife who have three kids, with the oldest each married with a kid. That makes 12, but we ended up with around 20 people, with a few pop-ins.

Days before conversations started over what was to be eaten - lots of seafood - and how it was to be made.

The biggest challenge was using our kitchen. Western kitchens are not common and most Thais cook outside - and you only wonder why until the sting of frying chili hits your sinus. You wouldn’t think it possible to cry, sneeze, choke and scream all at that same time, but it is. I know.

But everyone managed in the new kitchen. First came the fish, then the prawns, squid, cockles and more fish. It was never ending. And it was terrific.

The matriarchs preferred the floor, Thai-style, and despite their size and frailty I’m pretty sure they are the most.

The adults took to the table, passing food around with recommendations of what bit of meat or what sauce was best.

The kids wandered from plate to plate, deciding on what they liked best before they devoured their choice with a passion. In between some crisps and any other snacks they could find.

It was days like this we’d imagined in the past year and more than a few times i took time to sit back, watch and smile.

When the food was done the matriarch’s retired to their den to chew betel leaf, a local delicacy among the older woman that reddens their teeth and gums and is even said to have a psychoactive effect.

The kids played. Some football, some volleyball, and other ball games that weren’t too distant from the made up rules games we played as kids in Glasgow.

The adults? They tidied up, had some fruit.

Then they talked about what to have for dinner.

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