Many Hounders have professed their mom's pho to be the best. I am no different, and recently asked my mother to share her secret to the amazing steaming hot bowls of lovin' that grace our table when I come home to visit the Pacific Northwest.
When I asked, she took out a step stool, a rickety thing covered in red leatherette, and opened a cupboard. Inside, on the very tippy-top shelf, she took out a jar. Inside swam a sea of anise stars in a brown liquid.
"Sherry," she said.
Yes, sherry-soaked anise stars are the secret to my mom's incomparable bowl of pho bo (for you whitey tighties in the audience, or just newcomers, bo is beef). You basically buy the most crappy sherry available, fill a used Smucker's jam jar to the gills with anise stars, and pour. It must steep at least a few months to taste right for soup. I don't know if that's useful (or just gross) to anyone else. Thought I would share.
Does anyone else's mom have a secret ingredient? Spill the bo here!