Our benefactress is Sara Coombes, the New Life Foundation Marketing Team Leader. A bit of an insomniac, she is sometimes in the kitchen at 2 a.m. mixing and kneading. She learned bread making with Thai ingrediants through trial and error after she came to New Life.
Our small oven is, according to Sara, “dodgy.” Thais don’t normally bake. They cook everything on propane burners in woks and steamers. But Sara has learned the oven’s quirks and can turn out beautiful loaves. Some are plain. Other are Italian Stromboli filled with caramelized onions.
Yeast and flour are not readily available at the neighborhood Thai markets and must be purchased at the big Western supermarkets. One of the challenges for Westerners cooking in Thailand is locating ingredients and creatively substituting for those that can’t be found or are too costly. Cheese, for example, is unbelievably expensive, so Sara has learned to make ricotta for her vegetarian lasagna.
While we have a Thai cook on staff, volunteers and residents are invited to cook for the community, so we enjoy meals with diverse international themes.