Because of my long journey as a solo traveler, cooking had never been my biggest strength for many years and I had always preferred to experience a cuisine through my stomach. Moreover, being impatient and restless by nature, I had not quite been inclined to spend hours in the kitchen and my best efforts had mostly been packaged ready to eat ramen cups. All this had changed drastically, when my Yemen trip at the time of war, had opened my eyes to life beyond selfish wanderings and I had started finding solace at nesting at home peacefully too. So, predictably, human instincts had given way to wanting more in personal partnerships and soon enough children, family responsibilities etc had become a shared task.
While all these changes had brought about domestic bliss and my partner’s security at having the reckless bird being happy at home, it had required honing of my homely skills too, most of which I had unfortunately let to rust. Being a foodie and married to someone who loves cooking, it had been no wonder that the first skill I had developed, had been of cooking. This journey had begun on one lovely October day somewhere in a green grassy village in the Rhine Valley. The event had been a cute Spanish affair complete with tapas and pitchers of fruit loaded sangria and all around us, vineyards had undulated gently. The class had been in the open garden kitchen amidst flowers, excited children and a big equally happy dog and the food we had produced had been a table full of delicious grub. It had been a delightful evening with friends and that first cooking class had piqued my interest in matters of the kitchen.
Thus, had begun my cooking class passion, something which I share jointly with Tarek and after that, we had cooked at nearly each destination on every single trip that we had undertaken. Those classes had broadened our experience of a cuisine in a very all sensory manner and we had loved smelling, stirring, chopping of the local ingredients all the while indulging in historical cultural anecdotes leading to some particular food trend or dish of the place. Gradually this cooking love of ours had crossed continents and we had happily spent many travel moments learning an exotic dish or two. Those had been memorable times and the perfect harmony with which we had worked together as a team had been very bonding. Being avid travelers and born with curious sponge like minds, experimentation had never stopped us from enjoying a place through its palette and thus our most memorable Cambodia moments have been spent at a cooking class. That evening, being a part of the monsoon season, had been a rainy, stormy one and we had chopped, stirred, peeled and sipped wine while producing one amazing Khmer dish after another. A delicious spread of banana flower salad, cups of creamy fish amok and fragrant sticky rice had culminated from our evening’s efforts, while outside a severe thunderstorm had lashed out at Phnom Penh.
Another lovely culinary experience had been at the Maliwan Cooking School in Bangkok and complete with a fresh market tour, friendly trainer and fun co learners, it had been a very photogenic experience. Thai food is one of my most favourite cuisines in the world and so after that, I had indulged in one Thai cooking class from another. As mentioned before, it is not easy to comprehend the depths of a place without tasting its food and Thai cooking classes had shown me the beautiful different cultural layers existing within Thailand. I had learned over time, that the Isaan food had a fiery reputation, while the royal Lanna had been more sublime. Cooking styles and preference of ingredients too had differed from region to region and many common dishes had interesting regional variants. The Thai experiences had reminded me of India and its delightful culinary differences and I had shamefacedly learned the food world of Thailand beyond Paad Thai and Tom Yum soup. It had also taught me to be more tolerant also and ever since, I have never been annoyed with people to whom Indian cuisine starts and ends with “spicy chicken tikka masala”.
Greece had been yet another eye opening journey in terms of food and cooking and that one had happened as a solo traveler. Time on my hands and a long stay at Crete had helped me understand the self sufficient Greek island’s culinary heritage and my landlady had taken me under her wings to teach me a Cretan dish or two. Today, thanks to all their love and efforts, I understand the importance of food as a global connect and that sharing/appreciating local cuisine is an universal sign of peaceful acceptance. Incidentally, this deluge of learning and growing new found passion had improved my cooking too and there is no denying that love is the secret ingredient behind a delicious dish. For someone who had earlier set eggplants on fire while trying to roast them, this journey had been particularly fulfilling and needless to say, today I am a proud happy cook.
The idea of chronicling my cooking classes in a photo series had come from a post by a fellow blogger, Archana from http://www.travelwitharchie.com/and it was she who had beautifully captured the joy of cooking with her partner during her travels. (You can read here post here). So, come; Join us, as we present our passionate culinary global journey captured in photos and we hope that you enjoy the moments as much as we had.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE