Like many of you, I have my favorite go-to dishes I prepare each season – usually without written recipes. Not to brag (much) but I find my best meals are often impromptu, create-from-what-you-have-in-the-refrigerator-but-seasonal-and-fresh. I get brilliant ideas from restaurant meals, too (yes, I take notes or ask the chefs if I hope to make a version of what I am eating).
One of my favorite activities, though, is to take cooking classes and demos both here and around the world on my global travels. You certainly can teach an old dog new tricks and even if I learn just one new thing, I consider the class a success. I don’t go primarily for the recipes, although there are many keepers. I mostly love to watch someone else explain, cook and create. I sign up for said classes when it I find one that interests me, and I bypass those where I know that never in a million years will I actually use the information. For example, I’m just not going to make croissants. I don’t like to eat them and therefore I won’t learn to bake them. Ditto donuts. Ditto ice cream.
Yes, a lot of the information in classes is old school or stuff I already know and yes, I do get annoyed when instructors go on about the basics. But I try to stay neutral when another participant asks a question that seems obvious to me.
This past year I have enjoyed three classes:
The demo from the Jerusalem Cookbook was outstanding. This book is way too popular and the recipes demonstrated were over the top – meatballs, fennel chicken salad, pickled lemon, pear dessert…every last one of them delicious!
And finally, at the end of the summer, I attended a short demo by Erin Coopey from her The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook where she made a Tex Mex Guacamole – which was a little different from my Holy Holy guacamole.
So I challenge all of you to branch out, find a class or demonstration and learn something new. It might just light the cooking flame!