As soon as I go in the car I found that no one else was going to be in their class today because of some scheduling error…I immediately volunteered to come another day, but after some discussion we decided to continue as scheduled, and am I glad we did.
Those of you who have been to Thailand have probably seen the schedules for this fantastic cooking school, but for those of you who would like to drool, go to http://www.alotofthai.com/ I went on a Tuesday so I was going to see and learn the Popular Dishes menu: Pad Thai, Hot & Sour Soup. Spring Rolls, Green Curry, Sir Fried Chicken and Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango. YUMMY!!
Note to self: REALLY, when they say don’t eat they mean it.
After 5 minutes in the car, I knew I had made the right decision. Yui is absolutely passionate about food, and loves to share her thoughts and visions about cooking. She asked me what interested me and I told her that although I had taught myself some Thai cooking skills, I wanted to learn some specific dishes and techniques—because it was just us and I said I was interested in the Stuffed cucumber soup and the Panang Curry—she made those changes for the day.
Usually she stops at the market during a break in the menu, but we stopped on the way. A very local market where she is well known and obviously loved. We went thru the separate stalls and vendors with her buying certain small things. We talked a lot about the sameness of good cooks and about the differences of produce, the fun of experimenting, and the inevitable oops that result and the occasional Ahhs!!!
One vendor was cooking a very translucent discs over a small charcoal grate ( see picture) —this is a delicacy that will forever elude me: cowhide. And yes, it tastes like warm glue—Yui could not give it away to other vendors who replied to her offer with a sure “Are you nuts? “ No one wanted to avail themselves of her generosity!
She told me that the real organic and home farmers are the ones on the skirts of the markets—try them for unusual things you might want–the others buy from wholesalers.
Marketing done, we go to her house where she lives with her husband, two children and in laws. It was lovely and cool. She employs a helper to keep things moving along, and keep things moving we did.
Pad Thai has never been one of my favorite dishes, but after tasting this one and seeing how she cooks it, I might try this at home—a very light touch is required here.
Next we tacked the stuffed cucumber soup—amazing, light and extremely flavorful, any one with a deft hand at cleaning out cucumbers can make this. We had some fun her with Yui trying to teach me to carve vegetables—not gonna happen. I can dig out a cuke with the best of the but making a carrot flower. NOT.
After the soup it becomes abundantly clear to me that there is a lot of food that will be wasted because I can only eat so much…I ask her to teach me about the dishes—show me the proper way to cook them and talk to me about Thai cooking in general and how she does it in particular—this she did.
We talked a lot—about food, her mother (a chef that has traveled from Thailand), her desire to learn about the food of other cultures. We did some impromptu recipe exchanges, and remarked how even thought let’s say the dance of Italian cooking was vastly different in ingredients from Thai cooking, certain steps remain the same. And I was still STUFFED when I left …
We did finish early, but it didn’t matter to me because I felt that I had a great experience with a genuine cook who loves food as much as I do. I highly recommend this school and will go back again.
They dropped me off at Baan Orapin and I dropped like a stone onto the cool bed and slept for 3 hours—
Another dotted road:
I swear that I never learn… after my long nap I needed to stretch my legs. I was running out of SD card room, having shot close to 1000 photos so I was on the hunt for an SD card. Remember that “PhotoBug” store that as next to the spa that got me lost the first night? Well not to be cowed I went on the hunt for that store, and retraced my path of Sunday night. Walking Walking and more walking—but I did not get lost at all. Found the store, bought the card, and felt very proud –so proud I decided I deserved a good dinner and a massage. I went back to the Gallery and order some HUMONGUS prawns that are sold by the gram, a glass of wine and some French fries. Yum Yum—perfect.
Later I tried an foot and leg massage at Chiang Mai Massage, right on Tha Pae Rd, (23/1 Thaepae Plaza, Tha Pae Rd) about a mile from the bridge but a great after dinner walk. I loved this place—doesn’t look like too much from the outside but great massage and fair prices. Also, it is registered with the city which is one of the things I started looking for when looking at massage places.
This city has many MANY massage parlors—put out a chair and a stool and you are in business—in fact many people do that…but I although I have had massages all of the world, I am kinda funny about the “hey soldier, wanna have a good time “ attitude of some of the places I saw. Cheap does not mean good—in all senses of the word.
Anyway, I digress…massage over I walk back to the gas station—OH, I never mentioned that is where I would get my Cornettos? Hmm, must have been an oversight.
The BBC lulls me to sleep and its Sgt Kai in the am.