Monday, July 10, 2006

There's a lizard in my kitchen (and why this is a good thing)

John and I decided last week that we really needed to invest in cooking equipment. We did debate this, because with the abundance of cheap take-out, it's not necessary to cook. It will also almost always cost more to cook at home, especially since it will be farang food 90% of the time. But, much as I love not HAVING to cook/grocery shop/do dishes, there are times it's nice to be able to cook familiar foods. And not to brag, but I like my own cooking.

So, off we went to find a stove. Yes, you read that right. A stove is not an automatic in Thailand; many people simply don't cook at all. There are some stoves here with ovens, but they're tricky to use. It's almost all gas heat, which make it difficult, I guess, to evenly and consistently heat an oven. Anyway, much as I would love to be able to bake, it seemed more logical to opt for the standard gas stove. The heat makes baking often sound extremely unappealing! We found a shop selling the stoves, and luckily the owner spoke English. We bought a two-burner "glorified camp stove," as John calls it, plus a large gas can and all the accessories. They even delivered and gave us a ride home in the process. The guy who drove us home helped us carry it in; it amazes me how quickly Thais can take off their shoes. Usually they just wear flip flops, but still, they can slip them off without missing a step.

That night we went shopping for cooking utensils and cookware. I decided my first dish would be fettucine alfredo, only I couldn't find parmesan cheese. Anywhere. Now, before you start thinking "what makes Kristen think she could find parmesan cheese in Thailand?" I have had it before. Only not in this city. I did find goat cheese, but I didn't think that impart quite the flavor I wanted. Oh well, I ended up doing my best to coax whole milk, butter, olive oil, garlic powder and a bit of cheddar cheese into a sauce. It wasn't half bad, with chicken and pasta. Even if it wasn't quite the flavor it would have been with the cheese, there was something incredibly satisfying about digging into a big bowl of pasta I cooked myself. (And since then I've heard that the big Tesco-Lotus - there are two - carries it, but it's in the freezer section with the ice cream and frozen veggies. Go figure.)

On Tuesday night we had the missionaries from our church over, and made chicken with barbecue sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, and carrot sticks with ranch dressing. John even bought A&W root beer. We had Pepperidge Farm cookies afterwards. Now, I realize that normally this meal would be nothing to blog about, but it's an event here. The missionaries loved it. It's fun to be able to provide a treat from home for them, too.

While cleaning up I found a little gecko in my kitchen. He's so cute. He's tiny but hopefully he'll eat the ants and spiders that insist on invading, and get big and fat. I'd rather have a gecko than ants.


Zimm said...

Does it try to sell you insurance? :-)

Glad things are going well for you and that you arrived safely!

Tell John to blog and post some more pictures....

sleep deprived said...

John's a total slacker when it comes to the blog thing. And there's actually stuff to blog about here. I'll pass the word.

suprbacana said...

Awesome! And here we are in Oregon trying to make good Thai food... :) I'll think of you now every time I make coconut rice with mangoes. ;-)

And kitchen geckoes are excellent! My mom said when she went to Brasil, in the house she stayed in they would open the shutters up in the morning and let in all the various lizards who wanted to come in. Then (the lizards) would hang out all day and eat the skeeters. Then at the end of the day they would leave. :-) But yes, if your gecko starts trying to sell you car insurance, maybe that means you need to check and see if the gas is leaking in your stove. hahahaha ;-)