Thursday, January 26, 2012

Be a beginner: Cooking class part 1

This week was the first installment of a gift from my sweetheart, a six-week Technique of Cooking class from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.

When I first heard about this class I had some initial resistance. "Do I really need to spend that much time on basic skills? Am I not already a decent cook?" What I was really experiencing was resistance, that insidious force that keeps us from doing the things we most love. What I was really thinking was, "Am I good enough? Will I be the worst one in the class? What if I screw it all up and make a fool of myself?" Kevin cut through all of my questions and just gave me the course as a gift. "You love cooking," he said. "You're already a good cook. Go learn some more."

The first class was this past Monday. We focused on knife skills. The instructor, Dave Ramsey, was relaxed and informative, clearly enjoying the class and the opportunity to share his knowledge. Fourteen students with varying degrees of proficiency were guided through the different kinds of knives a cook needs, how to care for them, safety and more. Then we cut. We cut onions. We cut carrots. We cut celery and mushrooms and zucchini. We made garlic paste. We minced chives and parsley. Only one person in the class had prior experience and he, quite gracefully, helped out as needed with no condescension. The rest of us concentrated on curling our fingers into claws, holding the knife correctly and not losing any digits.

It was fun. And I learned better technique that I had previously been using. Maybe more importantly, I got over the hump, got past the voices telling me I'd be the oldest/dumbest/least skilled/etc. I was simply another student, learning more about something I love.

Next week? Eggs. I expect to have more to say about recipes, cooking and the fine art of getting over resistance. Stay tuned.

(c) 2012 Laura S. Packer

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