As I was preparing for my Vietnamese Pho Cooking Class tomorrow, I have read a lot of recipes, blog posts, historical accountings, and other articles. It was certainly a reminder that not all of the recipes you find on the internet are tested or tasty; I’ve been cooking long enough that I can look at some of them and just know it isn’t going to work. After consuming a well-cited article on Wikipedia for the historical background, I settled in for an educated comparison of recipes. The fat rose to the top of the stock pot pretty quick when I read Andrea Nguyen’s recipe. I will follow her method, as I have found that in simple dishes such as this the method and ingredients make all the difference.
I have, of course, heard of this accomplished cook and author before. I decided to explore her blog while I was there, and among the recent posts I found this one. It’s the story of Thu Thi Vo, or rather the story of her brother, Minh Hung Vo, who has been looking for her with extremely limited resources for over 2 decades. You can read the post for yourself, and I hope you will, to garner more details. Long story short, Thu Thi married an American GI and immigrated to the States. Brother and sister corresponded for some time, then Minh moved and never heard from his sister again. The Vietnamese postal system not being quiet as modern and efficient as ours, his sister may have continued writing but nothing more was received by Minh.
There is a lot we don’t know for certain – birth dates, married names, children’s names, etc. But there is certainly enough to narrow this search with all of the electronic records now at our disposal. Being an armchair geneology researcher for my own family, I feel certain there are at least Census records that would point toward other family members. I think of this as an old man’s final wish; Minh just wants to know what happened to his beloved sister.
Andrea is a genuinely kind person for taking time to listen to this man’s story and to try to help him. Some of her readers have already started digging and uncovered possible leads from the comfort of their living rooms. Perhaps you, too, can join this effort; a simple re-posting of this information with reference back to Andrea’s article would be a big help. Word of mouth is still the best way to find anything, or anyone.
Meanwhile, I am off to pick up my grass fed beef shanks and get busy following Andrea’s method for my Pho broth. I will follow up with the results. Thank you for reading, and for helping a global neighbor.