with thanks to my teacher, Jen Knapp at Tante Marie
Sadly, the Slow Mediterranean cooking course I was taking at Tante marie has come to an end. I am almost heartbroken. It was so much delicious fun, with such a great bunch of people, I wonder what will I do without it?
Knowing of my love affair with food and cooking it, people often ask me "why on earth do you need to take a cooking class, you can already cook?" Before I went to cooking school I would simply have answered that there are always some new techniques to learn. Although this is true and indeed I have learnt so much over the last 6 weeks, like how to bake fish in salt, how to prepare artichokes, how to make mayonnaise successfully every time, how to cook paella and how to make Zuni's famous chicken with bread salad, if someone were to ask me that question again, my answer would now contain another level.
I go to Cooking School, these days in order to broaden my palate as well as to learn new techniques. Every week we prepared about a dozen recipes which we communally feasted on at the end of the class. I have been introduced to so many foods that I simply thought I didn't care for as much as others and would never have experienced left to my own devices. There is no choosing from this menu, we get to try everything. Even foods I thought I hated have come up trumps in this unique environment where the choice about what I eat for my dinner was made by our teacher, not by me. I have retired many of my own prejudices thanks to Jen. Mum - listen to this - I ate raisins, I ate currants, I enjoyed brussel sprouts in my pasta, I greedily devoured not one, but two chicken liver crostini and from this year forth I absolutely love anchovies! What has happened to the pinickerty, fusser eater daughter you once knew? I am now more food brave than the rest of the family put together. This is progress on my part, to put it mildly.
It is also why, when Fred treated me to dinner at Zuni on Saturday night, after I got home late from work, I chose to have Cured anchovies with olives celery and cheese, followed by Oxtail where the old Sam would undoubtedly have picked Ricotta cheese and then Duck breast. It's an adventure and I can't wait for the next chapter!
PS. And as for missing cooking class? If truth be told - since I signed up for the next class, starting this Thursday, Flavours of Latin America with Penelope Alzamora chef, I guess my palate is going to continue expanding at an alarming rate!
Archive Alert! On this date in 2005 Fred is the Pasta King. You have to check this one out.