Time for a new move!
I’ve been back for over a month now, and thinking about my trip every day since I came home. I enjoyed my stay at the Chengdu cooking course immensely. Such an incredible routine to study cooking every day!
Get up, get dressed, grab one’s cook’s jacket and apron and go onto the street. Then buy a freshly baked bread from a vendor on the street, hop on a bus and get off at the right bus stop, just along one of Chengdu’s busy streets. Then take 5 minutes to jump away from traffic crossing some lanes, duck under an overpass bridge, and then crossing the third and fourth lanes to get to the Sichuan Culinary Institute on the other side of the street. The building is old now (they will move this summer) and there are many Chinese students walking about, or studying in the classrooms, all wearing white cook’s jackets. And we are with our small foreigners’ group walking to the ‘demonstration building’.
Here the chef and his assistant (plus an interpreter) prepare the dishes of the day in the demo classroom. First they write everything on the blackboard, do the translation, and then do all prep work. Then the chef prepares the dishes (ever so skillfully) and tells us what is important to remember. We all make diligent notes and snap pictures, and try to remember the steps.
At lunch break we wander into the back streets of the Institute where one can find small restaurants serving noodles, baozi, dumplings or simple Sichuan stir-fries. There are also many teahouses as we discover later on in the week, where you can just sit and relax and NOT eat since we’ve had the leftovers from the demo.
In the afternoon, it is back to the classroom but now to the cooking room section. Here are 10 wok burners and each of us gets their own chopping board and cleaver. Of course we get a wok and a wet towel to steady the wok with while cooking. Our ladles go into the different sauces or we scoop up the oil.
It is such a great experience to cook by yourself in a complete Chinese kitchen! The chef watching your steps and your knife work, cutting ingredients, then getting the right condiments from the small bowls next to the stove – I learned so much just by watching and doing – and really deepened my knowledge of Chinese cooking, techniques and flavors.
Going home after class, strolling through the streets and getting back to the hotel or just popping down for a coffee. And then of course dinner later that night or other snacks on the streets, or tea somewhere along the way… All the time wandering about in the friendly and relaxing city.
The picture you see here is a bamboo chair completely covered in cabbage. The cabbage will dry out and then be pickled in salt. Don’t you think it is funny when you come across these chairs all the time? China is like that. You bump into funny things all the time.
About the move – (this is the boring part)- I’ve been forced to leave my old address at my own server since blogger stopped supporting FTP publishing since May 1. This might all sound rather technical and I don’t want to bother you with it, but I will have to move my entire blog by reposting my old blog posts on WordPress. Also, I want to repost all the earlier comments, so my new blog will be mirroring the old blog. Then, when I’m all finished, I will have reroute the old place to the new blog. What a hassle!
Filed under: Chinese, travels | 5 Comments