The spice of life

My life has never been changed or broadened by a watch or an item of clothing, or many tangible things for that matter. What sticks with me are the memories and experiences that challenged what I knew and informed who I’d become. There is no greater vault of lessons than those given in travel. And the best part is, they’re specific to each of us and they’re wonderfully unpredictable!

Food isn’t necessarily the most important part of the travel experience, but it can be the most enjoyable. Through food we learn a lot about new cultures and the people who enjoy these morsels.  Food helps us form our strongest travel memories. It’s also the one thing all of us have in common when we travel. Regardless of background, preferences or budget, we all have to eat – it’s the great travel equalizer. That being said, not all travel food experiences are made the same; some invariably become more important to us than others. 

Our last excursion to the temples in Ranakpur and Dilwara was a highlight of the trip thus far. It was one of Chelle’s “can’t miss” events of our honeymoon. Today would be another in our top five travel experiences. An Indian cooking class. As a bachelor I could hold my own and neither starve nor become ill, which is a small benchmark for culinary achievement . When I did attempt a new and different recipe most of my culinary adventures fell flat. Vegan ice cream immediately comes to mind. For a while I considered a knife skills class but procrastination seemed to win the day each time. Ah, the sense of adventure beckoned and I agreed to participate. Yet again on this trip we experienced a slight hiccup. 

We were scheduled for the three hour class starting at 3pm. I had been at the restaurant ahead of Chelle enjoying some time away from the crowds. Three was fast approaching and she was rarely late. Chelle contacted me at 2:50…she had been sick since noon with no end in sight. Delhi belly the day of the cooking class. I began to pack up my stuff and shot back a quick text completely in jest that I would take good notes. She insisted that I continue on. Hmmmm, dutiful husband seemed like a better plan. I regrouped and took a deep breath and headed toward the kitchen.

A group of seven fellow adventurers (three from the U.K., two from France, two from Denmark) were sitting around a long table dotted with a variety of vegetables, fruits, bowls and two heating elements. Kala would be the main instructor and her husband Ruja served as the interpreter and sous chef. We started off with Masala Chai (I could end the class here and be perfectly happy with this knowledge). The instruction moved on to four different curry dishes, a rice accompaniment and finished up with four types of Chapati recipes. My primary dish to prepare was a Fruit Curry. I hit it out of the cricket pitch! By far my best culinary creation of all time.

Apple prep
Banana prep
Fruit curry in process
 Collectively we made five different dishes and four types of chapati. I was solely involved with the sweet curry creation under careful supervision. I stated on several occasions that I could survive the whole trip on chai and naan. Luckily Chelle won’t let me as it can create a “rumbly in my tumbly” as she calls it or “boo boo face” as my friend Chris would say. I absolutely loved this class and the new skills I’ve acquired. I took great notes, asked detailed questions and took nearly 200 photos. A large portion of our trip remains but I look forward with great anticipation to return home and unpack a wonderful gift I received while traveling through India.

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