Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 7 - Part II - Hutong; Cooking Class

               After we returned from the market tour, and warmed up again with some more tea, we made our way to the room for our cooking class.  The high windows around the top of the room made for some decent passive solar heating, and we were soon toasty warm.  Bejing may be cold, but at least it was clear – and there was plenty of sun to capture.

That is all sunlight!

            There were two more people joining us for the cooking class; Genevieve & David.  They were visiting from Montreal, Quebec, but on a several month stay in Beijing, and a much longer sojourn in China.  The problems of finding a short term apartment let in a big bustling city seem to be the same everywhere – New York, Paris, Rejkjavik, Berlin, London, and many other places I haven’t been.
  And there were Joel & Tang - our instructors.  

The finer points of scallions

It turned out the dishes we were cooking that day were Sichuan (also spelled Szechwaun) in other words, spicy dishes.  Here we were way up north, and learning southern cooking.  On one hand it was a bit like US Southern cooking.  We were starting out with green beans and pork sausage.  But that was where the similarity ended.

Sichuan has a few extra condiments.
Hey look - there's our photographer and his camera!
We made: 
Dry-Fried Sichuan Green Beans

Sichuan Pickled-Chili Fried Lotus Root 

- and -
Garlic & Sichuan Sausage Fried Broccoli

Our efforts made an excellent lunch, and a relaxing way to spend the day, yet still take in a ton of new stuff. 

After all that we headed back to the hotel, and, yes, hit the pool for a nice warm soak and a chance to breathe in humid air.  I’ll stop repeating it after this; I’ve travelled much rougher than this, and will again, but if you are going to nurse pneumonia, and share a room with 2 other people, and not give it to either one, and get through the trip successfully denying you have it, a soak in a nice hot tub of water while breathing humid air after dry, cold polluted Beijing air is just about the only way to go.

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