Seeking the Familiar in the New


#sol- December 27, 2016

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Being away from “home” at Christmas can be tricky, but being with my son in Thailand was an adventure, so we were excited. We booked a cooking course for Christmas day, so at least we would be in a kitchen (of sorts). I had actually meant to do the course last October, but I messed up my booking, so flew before it happened (oops).

We were recovering from a bout with food poisoning in Bangkok, but after an early small breakfast, we boarded the van. In the end, there were 10 of us, but the van was pretty quiet. “I’m the youngest,” Curtis whispered.

“I’m the oldest,” I countered.

About 20 minutes out of town we stopped at a local market and our teacher, Wass, brought us together for brief introductions. We noticed immediate connections, same parts of the US, similar professions, one woman was even the cousin of a good friend of two others in the group (it is always amazing how quickly these connections are discovered).

Wass showed us some of the ingredients we would be using later and gave us time on our own to explore the market. This brought to mind workshop structure. We had a “connection”, a brief “teaching point”, and then had some independent “work time”. This structure was repeated throughout the day as we learned how to make various Thai dishes. After each dish we made there was a “sharing time” as we enjoyed our food. We celebrated our approximations and were successful (we could assess ourselves as the food was so tasty) because our cooking was scaffolded by a more expert teacher who made it all seem achievable as she modeled and coached.

At the end of the day we were sad to not be able to even finish all of the food we had made, but thanks to the cookbook we went away with we felt like we had the necessary tools to be successful in the future (think anchor charts). Our cookbook gave us suggestions for substitutions, in case all ingredients could not be found. Throughout the day we had choice as there were different variations offered and each person could customize the food to their taste.

It was a great choice for Christmas Day in Thailand- we got to be makers in a workshop geared to introducing us to local flavors.

2 thoughts on “Seeking the Familiar in the New

  1. Fran

    Happy Holidays to YOU and yours!

    I love how you could connect your Christmas Day cooking class to workshop teaching and learning! I think the “list” of substitutions is what I need most as I often seem to be missing the “one” ingredient that makes the dish truly taste right! ❤


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