Life & Stuff

Cooking the World’s Way

Bali cooking class - Amy McPherson

I am in the process of pitching a few ideas to editors, and have noticed that of all my travel experiences, my most fond memories have been food related, especially the times I’ve learned how to cook.

Cooking is not my forte. I’ve burnt enough cakes, threw in way too much a spice or herb and even set myself on fire twice to know that I am just not naturally good in the kitchen.

It is perhaps the reason why I love cooking classes so much.

Throughout my travels I have been hooked on cooking classes. Everywhere I travel to I try to join a cooking class to learn the ins and outs of local flavours. I learned the art of the perfect Chicken Satay in Bali, pounded the perfect base for the flavours of Tom Yum in Thailand, attempted at making pasta by hand in Rome and observed the art of the ‘uma’, an underground oven, in Vanuatu.

And all this time I thought to myself, surely, my cooking skills would have improved?

Wrong. Even if I followed the class recipes to the letter, the dishes have never, ever, turned out the same.

I wanted to blame a lot of things for this: ingredients are not available in Australia, I don’t have the right utensils, I can only find dried kamir limes and our water taste different.

I know right? I would find any excuse to justify why my dishes never turn out the same way as they did during the cooking class!

There’s one thing that I did get right, and that is learning from these cooking classes.

Food, is important to any culture (perhaps, not the English) and with it come with age long traditions and rituals that can only be experienced accompanied by food. Through the cooking classes, I was able to get under the skin of many of these traditions and rituals and my travel experience suddenly becomes so much more than just sightseeing.

Of course, you might say that all that effort is probably now wasted. I am now in possession of some of the greatest recipes known to man-kind, yet I cannot make them again!

Well, at least I tried, and for the 2-3 hours during class, there was that speck of triumph only felt by those who normally have no control over kitchen affairs…


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