A couple of years ago I wrote a post on how I would very much like to attend a cooking class abroad one day. I even have it as an item on my bucket list which you can see here. I’d always envisioned Thailand or Italy. But then I took my first ever cooking class here in Pittsburgh, an Indian themed one. And I ended up mildly hating it. The participants in the class were divided into two groups; I ended up in the group that I guess you could say was more amateur in the world of cooking. That didn’t bother me but what did annoy and somewhat disappoint me was that in the other group, the more savvy (i.e. snobby) individuals seemed to sneer at my group’s efforts. I was thoroughly turned off by this behavior since most of the people in the group were much older than me and yet were behaving like teenagers.
I know that my cooking class experience here in Pittsburgh was one time and not necessarily how it would be in other schools or other countries. But the fact of the matter is I CAN cook. I’m not someone who says “I can’t cook,” or “it’s too hard,” or “I wouldn’t know where to begin.” If you can read, you can cook. Nothing annoys me quicker than when people say they can’t cook. They are either lazy, unwilling to try, or both. Since I was a little girl I liked to bake and as I got older I delved into the world of cooking. It wasn’t until I hit my late high school/college years that I really ventured deep into the world of global cuisine. So while attending a cooking class abroad somewhere would undoubtedly be memorable, especially if studying with a chef and visiting a local food market, I know that I’m not at the novice cooking stage. While I’ve had some disasters with Julia Child recipes over the years and have yet to make my own pasta (which I will probably never attempt…), I’ve made dishes from dozens of countries around the world. And have been awarded with incredible results for my efforts.
Although many people only equate Peru with Machu Picchu (you know who you are), the country is famous for many other things including, its cuisine. In fact, the capital city of Lima is considered to be one of the BEST foodie cities in all of Latin America (pretty prestigious if you ask me). So for a while I’ve been contemplating taking a cooking class while there on my upcoming trip to Peru. I was originally hoping to take one in the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo. The cooking class is actually part of a NGO which I think is fantastic and would love nothing more than my tourist dollars going towards that kind of organization. However, my time in Ollantaytambo is pretty much spoken for, especially since it’s there where I’m hoping to get acclimatized to the altitude. So needless to say I don’t want to pack too much in.
My other options are Cusco and Lima. While Cusco seems like a neat place to take a class (and I’ve come across a couple of pretty cool places), I only have two nights there and I really want to take advantage of the sights and soak in the overall ambiance. It’s hard to believe but I haven’t been in Latin America in almost seven years! Pretty crazy considering I’ve lived and traveled there for lengthy periods of time “back in the day.” And then finally there’s Lima. This is where my trip will end and on my final day in Peru my flight isn’t until the late evening. I’ve thought about taking a class on that day since the school is near to my hotel and seems like a great way to fill the time. But once again, a part of me would rather be experiencing the sights and background rather than being in a kitchen which could be anywhere in the world. I’d love to do a walking food tour (you know, the ones that take you to different places and you get to sample different food) but haven’t found anything that fits my criteria.
As I still have just under two weeks, I haven’t decided anything but at this point I’m leaning against taking a cooking class while in Peru. I do hope that I can find a pretty awesome cookbook to bring home as a souvenir, one that preferably has non-metric measurements.
Have you ever done a cooking class abroad? Is it something you would like to do on your travels one day?