Last fall at an auction I won two expensive cooking lessons at a fancy place with a beautiful view of a tree lined ravine with a fast rolling river at the bottom. It seems I was one of the few people at the auction who recognized the bargain price the classes were going for. I was thrilled when I won. Last night I cashed one of the certificates in on a three hour class on Thai cooking. Let me tell you, I was a fish out of water with all the foodies in our little group as we sat on tall stools around a chef’s stainless steel topped table. But I was honest about my lack of cooking background so I’m sure my naïve questions amused my companions whose questions were far above my skill set. The chef had a sous-chef who did all the chopping and running. He was a good looking guy of---I’m guessing---Italian descent and I wanted to take him home, stand him in the corner of the kitchen to come to attention whenever I need assistance.
They started out with Pork Satay and Peanut Sauce, then they progressed with putting on a pot of Tom Kha Gai soup. While that was on the stove they made Phat Thai and ended with Sticky Rice with Mangoes for the dessert round. We were munching and drinking wine the whole time---well, I wasn’t drinking, but the others were and it was fun to watch them all get buzzed while exchanging foodie stories as the night advanced. I learned two things: 1) To do Thai cooking you need to keep the following ingredients in the house: brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and soy sauce. And 2) Thai cooking has five flavor profiles: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy. Thai cooking is good at isolating those different profiles in the same dish so you continue to get unexpected flavor bursts as you eat. All in all, I had a great time and a to-die-for meal.
Will I ever make any of this stuff at home? No, but at least I’ll appreciate my take-out Thai more. But I probably will get some coconut milk, lemongrass paste, scallions and chicken and play around with inventing my own soup concoction. Recipes are for sissies. Or so my mother taught me by example which is probably one of the reasons why cooking freaks me out so much. It’s always an 'adventure' into the unknown.
As usual for me, I took my camera but it never made it out of my purse. The stock photo at the top is pretty close to the Phat Thai I ate last night. Oh and by the way, I sat next to a guy close to my age who was there alone, too, as were three other women. So there is no reason for widows to fear going alone to classes like this. The only couple in the group were young and are getting married next summer. The guy I liked, the girl reminded me of a few bridezillas I dealt with back in my former life.
“It’s going to be MY wedding,” she announced at one point, “not his and he doesn’t get a say in anything.”
The rest of us were all old enough to have grandchildren and we looked at each other at that statement. If I had been drinking, too, I would have been tempted to ask the others if they wanted to place bets on how long their marriage would last with that attitude. One of the other women did say, “Marriage is an 80% 20% deal. 80% of the time you love each other and 20% of the time you want to kill each other.”
Then I said, “I agree except the longer I was knew my husband that equation changed to 90%, 10%” and others agreed that was true for them as well.
Bridezilla piped up, “For us, its 50%, 50%.” I looked at her would-be spouse and hoped he’d could read my mind because I was telling him to run for the hills. Seriously, you shouldn’t have to work that hard at love! The only time I had to work that hard at love the relationships didn’t last. Am I just too old to remember how it is with young people or am I just making myself feel superior by thinking I can accurately read the signs when a relationship is doomed from the start? We widows do tend to have thick rose-colored lenses in our glasses when it comes to remembering our other half and our shared romantic past.
I’m saving my other class certificate for something to do with summer stir-fry or grilling. So part two to this story will be along someday. ©