|Pounding curry paste. I think my arms might be a little "stronger."|
In Chiang Mai, Isabel and I took a daylong class at the Thai Farm Cooking School, which is located on a working organic farm where mangos are wrapped in paper to prevent birds from eating them before they fully ripen.
|It seems like a lot of work, wrapping up every single mango.|
Everything is cooked super quickly, too. A few minutes on the stove, nothing more. We each got to make our own soup, curry, stir fry, pad thai (or spring rolls), and dessert from scratch and we did all this in a few hours and ate all this in that same few hours and since everything contained coconut milk, we got very, very full.
Our teacher, Benny, had an insinuating, sing-song voice and would swivel her hips when she added extra chili to a curry, smile this wicked smile, look around the room and say, “More spicy more sexeeeeee.”She had a lot of little sayings she'd deliver in that same voice with her saucy smile. I won't lie, Benny was a trip. I don't think anyone in the class knew quite what to make of her at first because you don't meet people like her in the West, ever. Her act just isn't part of our cultural repertoire.
|frying spring rolls|
But by the end of the class, I liked her immensely. Underneath all the mugging and bawdy joking, she was an excellent, serious teacher and we learned to make dishes I plan to replicate now that I am finally, as of yesterday, home for good.
|Isabel made sticky rice with mango. The blue comes courtesy of a butterfly pea.|
Elephants are awe-inspiring animals and a bit scary. They are not Babar.
We spent our last three days on a beach on an island where we splashed around in the warm water, ate, read, and otherwise did nothing. Really and truly nothing.
|What were we supposed to do?|
We got home to California and almost immediately left for New England to hang with Mark's family on the shore of another ocean where, again, we did almost nothing. What is it about the beach that makes people want to do nothing? Even in winter, you go to the beach to do nothing.
I didn't do absolutely nothing at the beach in Massachusetts. I did cook one night for a small crowd, but it wasn't the kind of cooking you write long blog posts about.
|Simple, quick, and satisfying is sometimes the right call, but one I've been loath to make in the past. For dessert: Rice Krispie treats. This meal plan freed up many hours for doing nothing.|
|Here's to Northern California.|