That’s my travel advice. At least once in your life, take a cooking class. Food is so cultural, so experiential, so essential to our identities. It’s the strange tie between all our childhood memories and the person we’ve become. Years and places change us, but mom’s home cook meals never change.
So, if you want to experience another place well- eat. Eat their traditional food and comfort food and street food. Eat as much as your stomach and wallet will compromise on.
And cook. At least once. Cooking reveals the insides of food. What ingredients are local, what seasonings keep reappearing. You figure that out when you do it yourself.
Case in point- I never realized how much Thai food involves peanuts and fish oil before our class in Thailand.
Our class involved a trip to the local market before diving into the kitchen (as do all of our lives unless we have some fancy food delivery service…).
Then we stood around a table, following step by step instructions to chop this, stir that, and turn it on high.
We made 3 things- a soup, an entree, and a pasta- stopping to eat between each round while it was nice and hot. I’m pretty sure my first Pad Thai was the one I made for myself here. Classic.
To end it we took a group photo, received our ‘cook book’ copies of all the recipes we made, and boarded a songtell back to the house.
All in all- delicious, adventurous, and bucket list worthy.
If you aren’t traveling right now – no worries! The internet is home to all kinds of cooking videos and classes. Food can always be an adventure, no matter where you are.
This is part two of a slow reminiscing of my 2014, post-grad trip through Thailand (and Southeast Asia). To see my first post, click here!