Browsing Tag

Cooking Lessons Around the World

Destinations, Featured Places, Food, Thailand

Creamy-Sweet and Salty-Hot Cooking Lessons in Chiang Mai

December 9, 2012

Q: What’s the next best thing to growing up in Thailand and learning to cook Thai food from your mom?

A: Taking cooking lessons in Chiang Mai from a local Thai chef, learning secrets she learned from her mom and tricks of the trade she’s picked up as a pro in Thailand…and around the world.

Celebrity Thai Chef “Yui” Siripen Sriyabhaya, at her home-based A Lot of Thai Cooking School

Here’s the thing. Much like any spot in the world open to eager tourists, Chiang Mai is chalk full of touted “authentic” experiences. Elephant rides and cooking schools, for example. Continue Reading…

Destinations, Food, Photography, Zanzibar

Cooking Octopus Curry with A Woman Named Peace

November 10, 2012

Coconut palms, mango trees, citrus fruits, rice and spice and fish. Turmeric, vanilla beans, hot chilies, black pepper, and cinnamon curls…

Zanzibar cuisine.

When we arrived on the island, a spice tour and a cooking lesson were my two highest hopes. Rather than find a touristy cooking lesson in Stone Town, I waited to look for a teacher until we left the city and settled into our spot an hour east, on the beach near the little town of Bwejuu. I’d read about a project in a neighboring village where local women taught cooking lessons as part of a grass-roots community development project, but as it turned out, I didn’t even have to look that far to find exactly what, or rather who, I was hoping for.

Removed by sea and time from the hazy city of Dar es Salaam (a gritty place on mainland Tanzania, ironically bearing the Swahili name Haven of Peace), a woman named Peace sits inside a woven-palm-walled hut on the white sands, selling her wares, saving her earnings, and offering kindness to strangers like me. Continue Reading…

Destinations, Food, Lebanon

Tawlet. A Masterful Lesson in Lebanese Cooking

August 11, 2012

You know you’re in for an authentic meal when the chef hails from the village responsible for the recipes. And you know you’re in for an authentic cooking lesson when the teacher is feisty and not afraid to swat your hand.

Enter: Georgina Bayeh, a woman from northern Lebanon willing to share an evening (and a few jabs) with three Oregonians and friend from New York eager to learn the secrets of Lebanese cooking. Like a maestro, she set the tempo for the evening, coaxing notes from her students, leading a pitch-perfect performance. By the end of the night, we reveled in a feast of traditional kebbeh batata, moutabbal, goat-meat kebbeh, and tabbouleh and wore the smiles of proud chefs.

Ted especially. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At the recommendation of our hostess, Jodi, we’d been led to a beautiful spot: TawLet Souk el Tayeb – an open kitchen in Beirut serving meals, hosting cooking lessons taught by local village cooks and chefs, celebrating wholesome, authentic, traditional foods from surrounding regions. Though we found ourselves breathing hot city air in a taxi 6813.5 miles from home, we stepped out minutes later and entered an oasis of calm with cool light and colorful produce, and it felt like a fresh breeze had blown straight from foodie heaven in Southeast Portland. Continue Reading…

Destinations, Featured Partners, Featured Places, Food in Italy, Italy, Walks of Italy

Traditions of the Land: Food in Italy Part V

June 11, 2012

A Farmhouse Family Feast: Private Cooking Class and Farmhouse Visit with Walks of Italy

There’s an unmistakable aroma in the air when you visit a working farmhouse. Like a wild yeast grown from spirited spores dancing through the air, the scent is unique and recognizable all at once; a mystery capable of leavening age-old family traditions and responsible for flavoring a one-of-a-kind slice of life.

Golden farmstead-harvested-saffron infused risotto made during private cooking lessons with Walks of Italy at Il Fontanaro Agritourismo in rural Italy.

Chores of the seasons. Stories of family. Pride of a job well done. Joy of a meal shared around a huge table. Characteristics of farmhouse living recognizable from my own growing up years on a family farm, working the summer harvest alongside my siblings and cousins, cooking dinners with mom and dad, carrying the pride of eighth-generation-Oregon heritage.

To me, the ultimate treat in visiting another country is discovering true and beautiful strains of family living and farm production, making friends and celebrating the familiar and unique. Continue Reading…

Destinations, Emilia Romagna Tourism Board, Featured Partners, Food in Italy, Italy

Traditions of the Land: Food in Italy Part IV

June 1, 2012

Italian Origami: Handmade Pasta at Casa Artusi

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Sara B. She’s an Italian by birth and a genius in the kitchen by passion and practice. She’s been inspiring me since grade school, and it’ll be a fun day when we reunite in Oregon for an Italian feast.

Homemade pasta is to Italy what chocolate chip cookies are to America.

Everyone makes or knows someone who makes the best, every gourmet has their secret trick, and no one chooses a plastic package when grandma’s making a fresh batch.

Once you’ve eaten a steaming plate of fresh pasta, you’ll forever be ruined for the substitute.

Continue Reading…