Have you seen the 1986 movie Stand By Me?
It’s a movie based on Steven King’s short story “The Body”.
Set in 1959, it’s the story of four 12 year olds who set out on a quest to find the body of a boy who went missing several days earlier. The band of friends are made up of:
Gordie Lachance, played by Wil Wheaton, who is the writing, story-telling smart kid, from whose point of view the story is told (Richard Dreyfuss provides the adult narrator’s voice)
Chris Chambers, played by River Phoenix, is the tough talking, street smart kid, who secretly has a heart of gold. He is Gordie’s best friend.
Vern Tessio, played by a then very chunky Jerry O’Connell, is the fat kid in the group. Yes, every group has one. It just goes to show you that even the fat kid can grow up to be a super-hot underwear model. Jerry did it! Can you say HAWT?!
Lastly, Corey Feldman plays Teddy Duchamp, the son of the town’s most renowned nut case. It’s hard being a kid with that kind of thing hanging over your head, and for a young actor, Feldman did a great job depicting what that might look like.
Despite being based on a Steven King novella of dubious title, the book does not translate to a typical Steven King book-made-into-movie. There’s no demonic or rabid animals, no serial killer, no murder, no paranormal shenanigans.
In fact, there is nothing creepy, or scary about it. Even the body that is eventually found is downplayed, and is really of minor consequence. The story is about the journey. The journey to find the body, and the journey we all take through our teenage years. It is really a wonderful story. Funny, heartwarming, meaningful, and deeply, deeply relatable to anyone who has been an adolescent.
That’d be you.
As any movie focused on teenage boys should, there is plenty of good-natured ribbing, mud-slinging, and name calling.
Teddy: “This is my age! I’m in the prime of my youth, and I’ll only be young once! “
Chris: “Yeah, but you’re gonna be stupid for the rest of your life. “
During their overnight around the campfire, they opine on various topics critical to their young selves, such as this:
Gordie: “Alright, alright, Mickey’s a mouse, Donald’s a duck, Pluto’s a dog. What’s Goofy?”
Teddy: “Goofy’s a dog. He’s definitely a dog.”
Chris: “He can’t be a dog. He drives a car and wears a hat.”
Vern:” Oh, God. That’s weird. What the hell is Goofy? “
And then this deep thought:
Gordie: “Wagon Train’s a really cool show, but did you notice they never get anywhere? They just keep… wagon training.”
The adult narrator—known as The Writer–delivers some single line doses of deepness too, that bring it all home.
The Writer: [voiceover] “It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant.”
AND—the last line of the whole movie, which is shown as it is being typed on the writer’s typewriter as he finishes writing the story:
I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?
Nope, not me.
But my favorite line, and the most thought-provoking question to come out of their night of philosophizing ’round the campfire is this:
Vern: “If I could only have one food for the rest of my life? That’s easy-Pez. Cherry-flavored Pez. No question about it.”
I love that line, well mostly because it really speaks to my inner fat kid. We all have an inner fat kid.
And secondly, because it really does make you think. Few foods can hold my attention long enough, and strong enough that I think I could live on them FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. With a little luck and God willing, that’s a really long time.
I think my husband, in answering this question for his own self, would answer “NACHOS…No question about it….” Because of lives on them anyway. If we knew there was such a thing as a nacho fountain at the time we got married, we probably would have had one.
Before I tell you what my answer would be, think about what yours would be. Leave your answer in the comments section. I WOULD LOVE to hear all of your answers.
And now mine….If I could only have one food for the rest of my life, what would it be? That’s easy—Pho. Pho Noodle Soup. No question about it.
Because Pho is what God eats
By the way, that’s pronounced like the “F” word, without the ck at the end. You know, as in the Lord God Queen Mother of curse words. Without the “ck”.
I literally eat it three times a week, already, and would eat it more often if my schedule, and my family’s preferences allowed it. Sometimes, on those nights when I want Pho, and they want ANYTHING but Pho, I’ll make them what they want and whip up my own Pho anyway…despite my frequent protests that I am not a short order cook, I often am.
It’s super simple, and oh so yummy. And you can create so many variations, you would never get bored of it if you had to live off of it the rest of your life.
Basic Pho Broth
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups beef stock
- 2 cups water
- 3 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, sliced 1/3 “ thick
- 8 pods of star anise
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 large onion, quartered
- ½ cup fish sauce
- 1 T sugar
- 8 oz Rice noodles
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced
- Meat of choice (see below)
- Add-ins: torn cilantro OR torn Thai (holy) basil, fresh bean sprouts, lemon or lime wedges, sliced fresh jalapenos, Sriacha sauce, Sambal Olek (chili garlic paste)
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and divide among 6 large bowls. Set aside.
For broth, place first nine ingredients in a stock pot, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ginger, anise and cinnamon sticks. Remove the onion and slice. Divide between the bowls.
Divide prepared meat (see below) between the bowls.
Serve add-ins on a plate next to the soup, so each diner can add as little or as much as desired of the choices. The beauty of Pho is that you can make it as spicy or mild as you wish.
I like it to set my face on fire.
The most traditional Pho is made with beef tendon, beef meatball, and/or thin sliced raw brisket, but you can customize to suit your own tastes and tolerances.
For beef, you may either pan fry 1 pound of thinly sliced sirloin, OR to be more authentic, add thinly shaved, raw beef sirloin to the bowl. The hot broth will cook the meat just enough to leave it very tender and flavorful.
For seafood, use 1 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp, imitation crab legs, octopus, squid, or any combination of the above. (I used shrimp, crab, tofu and calamari in the seafood Pho pictured). Add to the hot broth and simmer before dividing among the bowls.
For chicken or pork, thinly slice 1 pound of meat, and pan fry until cooked through. Add to bowl just before adding broth.
No meat, use cubed hard tofu, if desired.