When schools sign up for a Barge Program, we try to provide a holistic package which models living together in a sustainable way. Learning is not confined to specific games and discussions but spills over into every aspect of the trip. In this newsletter, we focus on the learning that takes place as students work together to feed themselves.
Barge Crew Cooks!
A highlight of being on the barge is often time spent in the kitchen. It is truly incredible what a group of four or five people can create in that tiny space at the back of the boat! We are often complimented on how delicious barge meals are, and it is due to the extra ingredient of excitement added by the students cooking.
For many it is their first time in the kitchen. Some know how to use a knife and can teach others. Some are expert egg crackers, while others make the most perfect pork balls for soup. Even if you are not as brave or skilled as your classmates, there are still jobs to help out with – even if it is a dish-washer!
One of the favourite dishes on the barge is pad sii eiw
– fried noodles in black soy sauce. It is simple yet super tasty, and is usually complimented by delicious squash soup. Funnily though, this is one dish that many barge staff can never eat outside of the barge because we eat it so often on-board!
Share with us your memories of your favourite meal or cooking adventures from your trip with Traidhos Three-Generation Barge Program on our Facebook page
A Recipe for Collaboration
“Hands-up who likes cooking! Anyone helped at home with the cooking before? Well today you are in charge of cooking our dinner from start to finish – and then you get to enjoy it! First we are going to learn how to make a fire, and then prepare a selection of traditional dishes and then cook them yourselves!”
Jungle cooking is always a favourite with our groups. We get to make our food from the beginning and then enjoy the feast afterwards. At the Traidhos Farm children see where most of the ingredients come from, and if it is the right season, can pick some of the produce that they will then cook. All students have their own roles to play in creating dinner, from making the fires, to chopping the vegetables, to being stove master and cooking up a storm, to decorating the trays and trying out a new dining style – sitting on the floor!
The farm is not the only place to practice your cooking skills; we can also combine camping and jungle cooking for a fun and unique experience. This year the Kitchakut National Park in Chantaburi was a popular choice with the students from Bangkok Patana cooking their dinner under the trees, before eating dinner from banana leaves and heading to bed in their tents.
Fresh Market Investigation
Pathum Thani market is one of the bustling sites frequently used on our barge trips. The market is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya, offering a variety of produce, most of which is grown within the Chao Phraya watershed. From various kanom, to juicy fresh fruits, bubbling curries and fresh river catches, it certainly is an eye-opener in culture and produce for students of all ages.
The site is used on our trips for fresh market shopping, as an opportunity for students to see produce as it should be – fresh, varying in size and ripeness and from friendly locals. Often students have not shopped outside of large chain supermarkets, so seeing buckets of live fish, or pigs’ trotters hanging up on hooks, or fruit that has not been sorted to look aesthetically ‘perfect’ is a new experience.
The market is a place beyond just an exchange of baht. People come to share conversations and to have a browse too, making it a social place. Naturally, it is busy and vibrant with plenty of interesting smells, sounds and tastes to immerse yourself in. It is more than just food that we visit Pathum Thani for: it’s fantastic to see students using Thai language when tasting or buying from store vendors, as well practising negotiation and bartering skills and being accountable for the food they bring back to share with the group. Students are given an opportunity to be responsible for the money they spend, for the food they choose and to dive into a cultural experience. It is a Compass of Sustainability lover’s dream, with points for economy, society, wellbeing and environment everywhere.
Farmers and vegetables
"Know your farmer, know your food."
You may have read this motto once too many times, but do you really know how farmers are growing your food?
With respect to the conventional method of agriculture, chemical fertilisers and synthetic pesticides are frequently used to ensure greater crop yields. Think about it: without proper washing, those chemical residues might still end up being in the vegetables you cook.
The positive aspects of organically grown vegetables are known to offer a wide variety of benefits. Some researchers show that with these ingredients, the food has better nutrients such as antioxidants, whilst having a lower concentration of pesticides compared to non-organically grown produce.
So the next time you are in the market, you might like to know how your farmer has grown your food.
The Traidhos Barge Program enjoys produce from Traidhos Farm
during all farm programs. For more information please contact Barge Program at http://barge.threegeneration.org/