Patricia brings it home

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Pat Burbridge is all set for the Christmas Bazaar.
Pat Burbridge is all set for the Christmas Bazaar.

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If you thought it was a well-kept secret, it certainly wasn’t intentional. For several years now, Patricia’s kitchen has been a simmering cauldron of activity, turning out some delicious and hard to find products that you thought you could only get at home. And “home” could be anywhere – America, Australia, UK, Middle East… anyplace that had an influence on her taste buds.

When asked why it took so long for Pattayans to discover her delicacies, Patricia confided that she had to try it out on Bangkokians first; which she did, at the regular roving Bangkok Farmers’ Markets, privately organized fairs at big name hotels and restaurants, and school bazaars. Of course, all her friends here in Pattaya knew what she was up to because it seemed she was spending more time up there than here at home and complained that they didn’t see much of her, even though she was supposed to be retired.

“Patricia’s Homemade” evolved in earnest some seven years ago after her husband Bill moved on to the big dive-site in the sky. Not being one to sit around doing embroidery, Pat started making jams because she said she couldn’t find jams that weren’t full of gelatin and sugar. Her reduced-sugar jams, without artificial flavouring, colouring and preservatives were a hit so she began experimenting with flavours like rosella, mango, kumquats and pomelo, along with the commonly known ingredients like strawberry, raspberry, marmalades. Then she added pickles, dill cucumbers, okra, beetroot, onions, and other vegetables, the list goes on…

I stopped by her house the other day while in her neighborhood, but she wasn’t at home. Her long-time maid of over thirty years’ service (that’s got to be a record!) pointed me to a little bungalow about 50 meters away from her home which she rents and had converted the car port into a large kitchen. There I found her elbow deep in a tub of shredded purple cabbage which was to be her next shipment of sauerkraut to an organic food supplier in Bangkok. This, she said, was her latest best seller. She alternates between red and white sauerkraut every two weeks and is hard pressed to keep up with the demand. Because of the hot weather, Pat’s tropical version of sauerkraut takes about 10 days to 2 weeks to be ready for consumption. Its popularity is due to the fact that the product is still very active with its probiotic benefits instead of sitting dead on the supermarket shelves like commercial brands.

After cleaning up, Pat invited me back to her house for afternoon tea where I learned more about the very early days of Pattaya. Pat and Bill were amongst some of the earliest settlers in Pattaya when there was only one bumpy beachside road and another track through scrub to get to Jomtien Beach. That, I was sure, would make for another interesting story, but now I wanted to hear more about her present project/hobby.

Patricia works completely alone; from personally selecting each item to preparing, producing, labeling, dating, packing and delivering the final product. Once in a while, when there’s a big order, an old friend helps out, so they chop and chat and catch up with old times. But usually she prefers to work solo. She has no main outlet but all her customers know where they can find her.

On every second Saturday of each month Patricia offers her whole range of products at the Farmers’ Market organized by the Holiday Inn on Beach Road. For this market she also prepares a range of exotic dips and snacks, such as varied flavours of hummus, baba ganouj, tabouleh, and her famous slow roasted tomatoes.

Other outlets carrying her products include La Baguette at Woodlands Resort on Naklua Rd. and also on Thappraya Road; London Pie on Chaiyapruek Rd; and also at HealthHut in Soi Town in Town, Pattaya Center Road.

On November 19th at the famous Pattaya International Ladies’ Christmas Bazaar (also at the Holiday Inn) Patricia will be offering her home-made steamed Christmas puddings along with other items her customers have added as a regular item at their Christmas parties, like chicken liver pate. This is a huge event, with about 80 vendors from all over the country.

That sounds like a huge load for one person, but the ongoing challenge, Patricia assures me, is what keeps her active and spry. Patricia’s phone number is 089 772 9091. Email: [email protected] .com and she’s also on Facebook: facebook.com/patshomemade.