Fresh ground coffee, fruit, eggs and toast started our day on the back patio of the chef’s house. We had to be careful not to eat too much since our second day of cooking class was starting in about an hour. We chatted a bit with the chef’s wife who is from China, finished breakfast and walked next door to the cooking school. We found two cooking stations and put our aprons on, we will be cooking all new things today.
Our instructor called us all over to a big table for the morning activity. He gave us each a carving knife and we all started with a tomato. He led by example…cutting into the tomato in a precise way, carefully slicing all the skin from top to bottom without ever cutting the skin off. Once the super thin layer of skin was completely off the tomato all in one layer…it was wrapped around itself to create a rose. We also worked on a pepper and a carrot with different flower carving techniques.
Once our vegetable flowers were ready to be plated, we went into the classroom to watch our first dish being cooked. We made clear soup with minced pork, spring rolls, red curry with roast duck, chicken with ginger, chicken in pandanus leaves and mango with sticky rice today. As we watched our instructor and re-created our dishes…we both found ourselves becoming more and more confident in Thai cooking.
Once our bellies were full and we had cooked our way through the six different dishes…we walked next door to our room and relaxed for a few hours before leaving to walk through Chiang Mai’s night market.
In honor of the King’s birthday…Chang Mai had the streets blocked off to celebrate…there was entertainment, decorations and tons of street vendors lined up selling their goods in what they call the “walking market”. They had one large square area with a picture of the king and an area to pray. Giff and I walked up and down the jam-packed streets looking at all kinds of crafts made by locals at really great prices. The crowd was crazy but part of the experience…there were thousands of people.
As we looked at the quality of products and saw the prices…realized why so many places import from Thailand. There was artwork, pottery, leather goods, copper jewelry, clothes, natural body products made with local oils, hand hammered pewter pieces…we could shop here all day! We stumbled into a stage near a temple where people were gathered watching Asian women slowly dance in sync displaying their hands which had long fake nails attached.
Since we have been at the cooking school, we haven’t walked the streets of Chang Mai yet but as we shopped and shopped…we saw so many temples, they were both out in the open and hidden down alleyways. They were simple and extraordinary…
We spent a few hours having fun and then decided to call it a night…the vendors were starting to look similar after a while and we had to be up first thing in the morning for cooking class.
Our cooking school picked us up and brought us back to our place where we watched TV before snoozing off.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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One Reply to “Day 300 of 400: Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School (Course 5) – Thailand”
Your video cemented my desire to travel to Thailand this year! Let’s do some Thai cooking next week. I buy you fry!!!