Tuesday, July 21
thai fresh ~ b-day festivities continue
note: it appears the key — at least in my case — to successful b-day certificate gifting is boldly signing me up in advance! (for future gifting ease, is there some genius way of making outlook calendars public?) really...just schedule me and I'll happily show up. within the same year, even!
sanitchat, of thai fresh, offers a daily array of fresh thai dishes, featuring locally sourced (wherever possible) ingredients. her counter has become a reliable dinner spot, and her face a regular at the farmer's market from which her fresh ingredients are sourced. jam's cooking is indicative — as is her helpful blog — of her warmth and generosity of spirit.
jam also offers evening classes on thai cuisine and technique. a few years ago, when deb took a class, they were offered out of her own cozy home kitchen. now they're housed in her vibrant south austin shop.
upon opening my birthday card and reading the inscription, my mouth began to water in anticipation. b very shrewdly signed me up for the course on thai noodles, which includes my all-time favorites (singaporean style and drunken noodles) and his (bean thread noodle salad).
the class was casual and easy, with a hands-on moment or two for everyone present. even my limp noodlearms were enlisted for one dish, and the burned, sticking bits were kindly overlooked. other attendees included a few couples looking to broaden their cooking skills for entertaining, two quiet friends with impressive knife skills, newlyweds who honeymooned in thailand, and a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law pair (m-in-law and family spent 6 years in jakarta, only returning during the 1998 riots. d-in-law's hubby was interested in living abroad again sometime). the only other "single" in the full class seemed to be a regular in jam's kitchen, stocking up on groceries before leaving. all seemed to possess a genuine love of and curiosity for thai food and culture.
jam's instructional style is informative (explaining differences between various types of soy sauce, and why at least two are really necessary), open (lots of personal stories) and fun. she covers the material from technical, geographical, historical and cultural perspectives, making it even more entertaining.
despite having a dozen strangers in the working kitchen (often standing precisely where an employee needed to be at any moment), jam's staff was friendly and inclusive. the sense of camaraderie around mutual love of food is apparent (while closing up shop, a bottle of wine was opened for tasting and discussing). they seem to love their work, and there's no need to ask why. even after one short evening there — dashing home, basil and orange coconut ice creams in hand (suspending the rapidly melting container over the a/c vents) — it felt a little bit like having shared the time with foodie family.