Cooking Food in "Oobood"

Trip Start Oct 20, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Thursday, August 19, 2010

We're really liking Ubud!

On our second day, we did an evening cooking course in Balinese food. It was great since it turned out to be just us two.

We first drove to a village called Laplapan. There we saw rice paddies and some topless elderly women (!) working in the rice fields, as well as a bunch of swallows circling one single square of land. We asked why they were so centralized on this single piece of land and we learned it's because there was a single "playboy" swallow from whom all the females didn't stray far (large F:M ratio).

We saw many rice paddies and enjoyed the beautiful green fields. We also learned about rice paddy irrigation and interesting village customs including ringing of village bells. Various bells could indicate the birth of a baby, a marriage, a death or even danger.

With respect to rice, we learned that rice is harvested 3 times a year and that various of types of rice are only suitable for various elevations/climates (e.g., brown, red, black and white). We also learned how rice is grown and picked, which turned out to be from the top of the rice stalk (not the bottom, under water!).

Our host, Wayan, then took us to his family compound. One interesting note about his house is the presence of the honeymoon house where, currently, his 97 year old grandfather lives. The house is meant for engaged couples who will stay there for 24 hours before their wedding to quash any impulses to run away. (Funny!)

We were then taken to the kitchen area where we met Wayan's wife, Puspa! She was quite a character and made a lot of inappropriate sex jokes (e.g., apparently, ginseng improves a man's "stamina"). She also disclosed how she and her husband had an "MBA" -- not one from UChicago though. She meant "marriage by accident" -- when a couple is pregnant before they get married.

Anyway, we were taught to cook a lot of stuff and had an unusually large dinner! This included: mushroom/veggie soup, gado gado in peanut sauce, veggie curry, chicken curry, smoked tuna, tempeh, a stringbean dish, and a yummy banana/jackfruit dessert.

Our gracious hosts then drove us back to Matahari, stuffed with good food and an enjoyable time.

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