#sol19- October 8, 2019
Life sure does go in cycles. For years I was the cook (note, not chef- I am an okay cook, but nothing special). I had two hungry sons who would eat almost anything and my younger son is actually a great cook (the older one…). Over time they eventually both moved on to university and have settled far away so I have ended up cooking less and less- after all, it is pretty boring cooking for one and I do not love leftovers. Fortunately for the last 5 years, I have lived in places where takeaway is not unreasonable (in terms of cost and health). I drew the line at delivery-until I didn’t. Once a week, Maybe more. Discovering that fresh food could be delivered here for not much extra made me remember my cooking days with a little fondness.
Fast forward to March and the discovery that I had high cholesterol- changes had to be made and I knew what that meant. Cooking, me. Also, I had to think more about what I was putting into my mouth. Bit by bit I have started cooking more and I am trying to get over my disdain of leftovers (lentil soup is one of my new go to dinners- it makes a lot and then I can change it up by adding different vegetables on different nights and it freezes well. I am trying to go lighter on the carbs, and that is hard!).
Eating more homemade food has made me want to try making some more of my own basics. Every morning I eat overnight oatmeal- the only yogurt that I like here is full fat. Maybe I could make my own yogurt? By strange coincidence, my friend, Danielle, brought me some homemade yogurt last week-it was yummy, so I quizzed her on her process. It sounded hard! In the dim recesses of my mind I remembered that my mom had had her yogurt making phase once upon a time and if there had been yogurt makers way back then, they must still exist, but would I be able to find one here in Cambodia? Danielle was pretty sure a colleague had bought one here, so I went on the hunt on Saturday. After looking at two stores at the faraway mall I was losing hope. I posted on an expat forum, no response. meanwhile I was getting more and more excited about making yogurt- I even decided I was going to try making my own oat milk or almond milk to use in the yogurt. So, I needed a “nut bag” I learned, to let my milk drain. Hmm, another challenge. In mentioning all this to the art teacher across the hall Monday morning, she was pretty sure that cheesecloth would work (and also sure that her husband who owns two bar-restaurants would know where to get this (or even have an extra for me).
Monday after school as our leadership meeting ended I asked two colleagues if they had any idea where I could buy a yogurt maker. “I have one I am not using anymore,” Courtney said. “I wasn’t eating it fast enough and on Saturday mornings when I ate the last jar I noticed that I was getting a stomach ache.”
Somehow that did not put me off. On the way out the door, I also caught Janet and asked her about her hummus recipe (snacks at our meeting are new this year). She insisted that her “Magic Bullet” made it easy. After she texted me a picture of that, I had my next kitchen tool wish. I must hunt for that next Saturday.
Today my “new” yogurt maker arrived magically in my classroom and I can hardly wait until Saturday to try it out (which may give me enough time to investigate and make oat milk first) or blitz up a batch of hummus to scoop up with carrot sticks.
As with many of my projects, we will see how long this cooking binge lasts, but for now, bon appetit! How did I end up cooking again?!