Cooking in Thailand
When my ride to the course arrived I was shocked at its resemblance to a prison bus. Essentially we sat in the flatbed of a truck with some benches on either side and a canopy to block out the sun. On-board were seven other oddballs from around the globe. There were Kiwis, Limeys, and Canucks. Sufficiently crammed into the back of the darkened transport we set off to something between a super and farmers market. I came to learn later that this place is fairly typical for Asian markets.
We were shown all kinds of ingredients we would be using later, their names were of course unpronounceable, impossible to remember, and written in an alphabet so odd I couldn’t even tell how many letters there were in each word. We resorted to calling them things like fish sauce and chili jam. We were then told to buy beer, I like being told to buy beer, it’s like being told to breath. I was going to do that anyway, assuming I wasn’t doing so already.
When everyone had a sufficient quantity of cold beverages we got back in the truck. I should mention it was about 38C out, so the canopy was essential to our survival. The lack of walls allowed for quite a bit of airflow, which we greatly appreciated in that our skin and clothing was rapidly becoming an organic water feature. Arriving at a tiny farm in what I assume was the middle of nowhere we were walked around for an hour or so. We were shown all sorts of plants that somehow avoid bursting into flames under the scorching rays of the sun. The fact that the humidity was nearly the same as it is under the ocean probably has something to do with it.
Finally, when everyone was near death we were brought into a kitchen and told what to chop and where to put it… that sounds wrong. Instructed on how to prepare food. Yeah that’s better. Anyhow we made a couple of things then ate them. Then made more things, and ate them. After the second round of this I was no longer interested in food in the slightest, however it was time for dessert.
The Thai people seem to love sugar almost as much as I dislike overly sweet things. Dessert to me consisted of a coconut soup with banana chunks that was best suited to a hummingbirds palate. Finally and mercifully our guide recommended we just take the remaining items to be cooked home with us, after of course cooking them. We returned to the kitchen area and again began blasting propane fueled heat onto unsuspecting foodstuffs. The air shimmered with heat before we added fire, adding fire was not a wise choice.
In short the first week outside Kathmandu in three months has been fairly eventful and educational. One thing I learned was that apparently Kathmandu air is poison, I have spent a week or so coughing up Nepal scented dust. Those funny little masks everyone seemed to be wearing where probably a good idea after all…