12/30/09: Siem Reap, Cambodia
I used to daydream that upon returning to the States next summer, we would sign a lucrative book deal and write a New York Times bestseller about our travels. In case that modest goal doesn’t come true, we now have something to fall back on to get rich quick – cooking! We’re going to become Food Network’s next big thing: the three-quarters Asian husband and wife team who specialize in one dish from every country around the world. Alton Brown and Bobby Flay can’t possibly remain popular forever, so why not us?
Because we had so much fun at our Christmas Eve cooking class (awesome gift courtesy of Rachel – if the rest of you want your name featured in the blog, give us stuff!), today we were back at it for the second time in the past week. Our course du jour was a three hour session at Le Tigre de Papier. The six of us in the class first selected one main course and one appetizer from the restaurant menu – we would each be cooking our favorite dishes this afternoon. While the real chefs put together the ingredients for each of us, we all walked over to the nearby fruit and vegetable market to learn about some of the local cuisine.
It was then time to cook, so we swallowed our pride and donned our goofy baker uniforms. (When we become famous the first thing we are going to do is change the look of the kitchen apron, which seems to be stuck in the 1960s.)
We both prepared our selected appetizers (spring rolls for me and pumpkin soup for Zhou) and it was time for the main dish. Zhou was quickly sent to work chopping, cutting, smashing, dancing, stirring and just being a good person in general.
Then, as if a bit embarrassed, the lady approached me and said, “Nothing for you to do. You fry later.” That was it. I had chosen the fish fillets expecting to learn how to fillet a fish, but nope – my dish was already ready to be put on the pan. For the next hour, while everyone was pounding, slicing, chopping, tasting and enjoying themselves, I stared at my fillets and waited for my big moment.
And then, adding insult to injury, when Zhou finally finished preparing her dish she was picked to make the group’s banana dessert as well! I stood there with my mouth open, partly out of shock that I wasn’t asked to do that while waiting, and partly in hoping that someone would put a vegetable that they chopped in there. I received neither condolences nor carrots.
Before this turns into a rant about my bad luck, I’ll switch gears to say that our food turned out to be very tasty, even (or perhaps, especially) the fish fillets. I can also happily say that if someone ever needs help putting fish in a frying pan of oil, I’m your guy.
Picture of the Day: While on the subject of cooking, yet another in the long line of Curry signs we’ve spotted around Asia.