Imagine you are in the jungle and you start feeling peckish. Would you be able to rustle up a meal?
Well, students from Monte Sant’Angelo Mercy College had an introduction to jungle cooking as part of their visit to the Traidhos Farm.
Before getting stuck in with the cooking, the farm staff took the students on a tour, which included harvesting some of the vegetables for lunch. Once back in the main sala they set their ingredients aside while they worked in small teams to start their fires using charcoal made on the farm.
Everyone started to cook after receiving quick instructions. On the menu were several dishes: northern Thai style green chili paste, grilled tofu, grilled pork and chicken, salsa, local mushroom salad, sweet potato and grilled corn. Whilst we do help out by providing metal kitchen utensils, natural materials such as banana leaves, coconut shell bowls and woven baskets are favoured and students also learn that great flavours can be achieved with only basic ingredients such as fresh herbs and salt.
After decorating the bamboo trays with flowers picked from the farm everyone sat down around them to eat. In this part of the world sticky rice is the main staple and you definitely wouldn’t go into the jungle without it so, of course, each tray was supplemented with a generous mound. The rice is also grown on the farm with help from visiting student groups.
The students had a lot of fun and learned new cooking skills from this activity. Some said that ‘I had never tried sticky before; it’s so delicious’ and ‘I have never made a fire before it’s easier than I thought’. It sounds like they would fit in with the local culture quite well!