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Call me Al. I was drinking with Oliver in a bamboo hut on the beach at Crawford’s Place and well into my second ice-cold Chang. It was late afternoon in July and the air was magically clean with the passing of one of the first storms of the wet season. I’d been in Thailand about a year, working as the sous chef at the new Andaman Pearl resort in Phang Nga province. Everything was right with the world.

“Secrets of the kitchen,” I said, “you don’t want to know!”

“Give me an example. I can handle it,” said Oliver.

“Alright, I’ll start you off easy. Bread and butter pudding,” I offered.

“Okay,” said Oliver.

“I’ve seen it made from yesterday’s pastries.”

“That’s not so bad.”

“Club sandwich.”

“I’ve been known to eat them,” said Oliver, “and I ain’t even a member!”

“Leftover bacon from the breakfast buffet,” I said.

“Same day?”

“Not necessarily.”