by Hayoung Chang ’18
Today, I ventured down to the depths of Northwest Labs to attend a Thai food cooking class. Led by a Thai chef, the class was filled with a diverse mix of people including hungry college students like me, grad students, as well as old people. After a swift safety briefing, we familiarized ourselves with the authentic Thai ingredients, utensils, and layout of the cooking lab, a neat and comfortable space.
Following the instructions of our instructor chef as well as the recipe, we got to work. Chopping vegetables and mixing sauces, I was glad to get my hands dirty with some Thai spices. My partners prepared the vermicelli noodles. Mixing it all together, the fresh peppers, hint of spice and succulent noodles combined to create a wonderful dish. I could hardly believe that I had cooked it myself!
Next, we started preparing the curry by warming some coconut milk. The fragrance bubbling up from the pot was enough to make my mouth water. With my stomach growling, we added dollops of spice and sauces, plopped in some tofu, tomatoes and pineapples, and brought the curry to a gentle boil. Once the consistency was just right, we sprinkled some basil to finish it off.
The taste was amazing, to say the least. Perhaps the fact that we had cooked it from scratch had heightened my senses. The curry was just the right amount of spicy, creamy and silky smoothness. The warm and soft tofu complemented the sharp sweetness of the pineapple. Drizzled over jasmine rice, the dish was a huge success.
Overall, I immensely enjoyed the experience. Not only did I learn how to make some great curry, I also learned to appreciate food, and real food. These days, we consume so many processed and pre-cooked foods, that we often forget where food comes from. By partaking in the process of transforming fruit, vegetables and grain to a delightful dish, my eyes were opened to the true nature of food. Perhaps that’s a little too cheesy, but hey, at least I got the best curry recipe under my belt.