Friday, October 16, 2009

Thai Cooking School and Royal Palace of Thailand


"The Grand Palace complex was established in 1782 and it houses the royal residence and throne halls..." snore..... It's conspicuous, sparkly, and hot. At least they sell Thai Iced Tea in the gift shop. That's: 1 part rich tea, 5 parts sweetened condensed milk, pour over ice. (I'm estimating 2000 calories each...I had three yesterday). Here's me on one of those tours where a tour guide leads you around, drops a lot of dates and names of kings and says, "Okay?" after every fact to see if you're following him. I was too beat up from the 12 hour train ride last night to feign interest by nodding appreciatively. Safe to say I'm templed out.

What's a monarchy without royal guards in full regalia + 105 degree heat.

This is a organic cooking school cat. He is the happiest cat I've met so far. He undoubtedly eats all organic...(note to self...maybe there's a connection here?).

I made yellow curry (from scratch, not with curry powder), coconut milk soup, chicken with basil, pad thai and mango with sticky rice. I so cannot wait to get home and start using my wicked new Thai cooking skills on Tom and our friends. We have a great market down the street from our flat for ingredients. Tom's mom would say, "You couldn't pay to be that close to such a great market", to which we both reflect on Melbourne rent and think, "Uh, yeah we can.". We just renewed our lease through next July, by the way.

It was a huge thrill to have everything exactly how I like it when I cooked it myself - extra garlicky but not too spicy. I even learned how to say "extra garlic please" in Thai. It's been funny to see what I've got so far when I've tried this in English at Thai restaurants. Sometimes a whole different (second) dish that has garlic, often no garlic at all, when I do get some it's usually raw...and here they have us sleeping three to a room. Not a good way to make or keep friends whilst traveling in a group.

When my brother did this kind of trip several years ago, he had to have a laminated card made up with "Please do not feed me peanuts. I am allergic and I will die." typed out in several different languages. He is still with us, thankfully.

Cooking school is a lot like watching home improvement shows on TV. No food "dust". Veritable 'shooting fish in a barrel'. The staff does all the prep work and clean up. You just fling your spatula around your smoking wok, thinking what a culinary genius you are.

We went to the market to talk about ingredients before class. These are lotus flowers.

I love sauce. We had a long talk about MSG (food crack cocaine, basically). Apparently it's in EVERYTHING here. Like even if you order your meals with non MSG, it's still in soup, curry, and sauce bases. This just might explain why I've been devouring every food item with such voracity. MSG was outlawed in Australia some time ago. And that may explain why I haven't liked a lot of the food we've had since we immigrated?

I'm starting to find my stride with a few of the older people (old being round about 30-35) in the group and and feeling more comfortable with everybody. There is one couple here together (about 10 years young than us) who are a bitter reminder of how much I miss Tom. Nothing seems entirely real when he's not here to experience it.

There is a story about someone saying to the the Thai king that she will be the water to his forest. Kind of like marriage, yes?

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