Sarey* likes to cook-she likes to peel and cut and dice and stir- but she needs and wants supervision in the kitchen.
Tasting the food as it cooks is another matter, though. She doesn't get the need. And offering her true opinion to her elder supervisor (me) comes hard to a 13 year-old Cambodian girl schooled in accepting authority almost no matter what.
So when encouraged to dip in a spoon for a sample her answer was always the same- "Good, teacher."
Had I dumped in a cup-and-a-half of salt to the chicken curry, she would have said- "Good, teacher." A kilo of sugar to the fried fish? "Good, teacher."
But she's starting to get it. A better cook now, and more comfortable expressing an opinion, at least in the kitchen, she tasted last night's effort and registered a frown and scolded "too salty, teacher."
Small progress, perhaps, but satisfying nevertheless.