Culture Kitchenwise Issue 111: Beijing Published Apr 17, 2008 8:00 AM Culture Josh Wand SHARE Zhou has turned half of her courtyard into a kitchen (the large table in the foreground serves as a prep area), but the other half remains a sun-filled sitting area, where she gathers with her students to eat at the close of each class. Josh Wand While Zhou offers her students a range of wood and plastic cutting boards to use during classes, she prefers a traditional Chinese ironwood cutting board. Josh Wand The door to Zhou’s courtyard home is painted a vibrant red, the traditional Chinese color of celebration and prosperity. Josh Wand Unlike Western cooks, Chinese don’t use traditional measuring spoons, so Zhou teaches her students to measure ingredients like salt, MSG, and soy sauce by sight. Josh Wand To make the room habitable in all weather, Zhou installed plastic roofing lined with grass mats to cover the kitchen area. Josh Wand During class, every student has a chance to make each dish taught. At lunch everyone sits down to taste each one and learn from each other’s mistakes and triumphs. Josh Wand Just yards away from Zhou’s front door, a neighbor cooks his lunch on a propane stove set up outside his front door. Josh Wand The alcove in Zhou’s kitchen that contains the sink and stove is covered in tile for ease of cleanup, and contains the few tools she uses in her cooking, including a variety of sieves, a large measuring cup, and some scoops for wok cooking. Josh Wand Like most Chinese people, Zhou drinks tea, rather than plain water, all day long and offers it to her students and guests as well. Josh Wand Zhou’s small class sizes keep every lesson intimate and personal. Josh Wand Zhou’s open pantry contains all the spices and flavorings she needs for class, including multiple kinds of soy sauce, bottles of Chinese cooking wine, containers full of Sizhuan peppercorns, dried chiles, and star anise. Josh Wand Lifestyle MORE TO READ RELATED How to Choose and Cut a Durian, According to a Grower Don’t be daunted by the spikes—this odorous tropical fruit is a sweet, creamy delicacy. READ NOW RELATED Reservation Apps Have Come for the Cocktail Bar It’s getting harder to drop in for a drink. Is that a bad thing? RELATED How to Up Your Salad Game, According to America’s Favorite ‘Salad Freak’ Jess Damuck says it's time to embrace more eye-catching ingredients and globally inspired dressings.