About Ken

A real estate broker by trade, a traveler by heart. I love exploring the world.

Baipai Cooking School Bangkok Thailand ©abettertrip.com 024

I also love to cook, bake, and experiment making things I’ve never made before. When I travel, a big part of the adventure is to eat the local cuisine, even if it may seem different or strange.

I remember when I was young, past my bed time, the sounds of my parents still talking and working in the kitchen. You could hear the sound of chopping, of clacking of wood, bowls being moved, the scraping of a spoon on the side of a mixing bowl. The smell of steaming bamboo leaves and rice and all the savory ingredients enclosed within.

In my mind’s eye I could see what I had seen so many times before. Bamboo leaves laid into the hand made wooden mold, scoops of soaked raw rice carefully laid in, followed by all the wonderful savory ingredients that made the ubiquitous joong the harbinger of Chinese New Years for our home.

Later, around middle school, I graduated from stirring and mixing in the kitchen to baking on my own. I loved to make cookies and lemon bars from scratch, using the recipes I found in Betty Crocker’s Cook Book.

As an adult, I cooked at Church as part of the cooking ministry, working in a team, assisting, and eventually leading a team in the kitchen cooking for anywhere from a couple dozen to a few hundred people. We used to do full blown dinners for musical outreach dinners and I really got a sense of working in a larger kitchen, banquet style, cranking out hundreds of servings at a specific time. It was tremendous fun and I learned many skills.
For that, I’d like to give special  thanks to Dad, Mom, Damon, Larry, Nelly, Martin and everyone else in “The Kitchen” from whom I learned so much.

I started a program in both the public & private schools that I worked in where we took the kids camping for a few days. Not content with PB&J and instant noodles, I built in a camp cook aspect to the camping trips. Cooking crew was one of the activities that the kids would rotate through and with help from volunteers and parents, we managed four excellent meals every day. Hash browns, bacon & eggs for breakfast one day, Jook (Chinese rice porridge) the next. For lunch it could be barbecued chicken. For dinner Spaghetti or Beef Stroganoff. Some of my best memories from teaching were from the camp experience. What I learned from the experience, was to plan well, prepare and pack, with great attention to timing a three day trip vs. safe keeping of raw foods, and cooking in a more primitive environment. I also had the opportunity to train crews of 10-16 year old kids (depending on what class I was taking) and coordinating them into a smoothly running team. Eventually I’d stay up for a week and two to three grade levels would rotate through our camp with their teachers. Each group was up to sixty kids. Middle school could be closer to a hundred at a time, if my memory serves me.

Finally, a couple times a year I have family over. Just my wife’s side of the family is about two dozen people, and for a while I was baking two turkeys for Thanksgiving. Lately I alternate. A turkey, a turkey plus a roast, sometimes something different. This year I’m thinking of cooking a suckling pig as a second main dish to the turkey.

I love to do special meals with the family and we have get togethers where I’ll do barbecue, crab day, or something else. Food is love, it’s said.

If I were to try to describe my inclinations, I’d say I gravitate towards spicy, savory foods that can come from anywhere in the world, but would often fall in the ‘comfort food’ category in whatever part of the world the food is from. I’m more meat and potatoes than frosting and fruit reductions. More rice and chicken than caviar and crackers.

My love for cooking runs deep. My love for eating….deeper! 😀

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