5 Signs You Need to Take a Formal Cooking Class

Bulah Perez loves cooking and often offers cooking lessons in San Francisco and the surrounding area. She believes anyone can learn if they’re willing to try.

Have you ever watched a cooking show on television and thought, “They make it look so easy.” Well, yeah, that is because they are trained professionals. Very few of us can cook like Rachel Ray or Emeril Lagasse. However, just because you do not aspire to be a master chef does not mean you can’t be creative in the kitchen. Here are five ways to tell if it is time for you to take a formal cooking class.

A cook sautees onions and peppers.

A cook sautees onions and peppers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Oh-My-God-Not-Again Face

If you set dinner on the table for your family, or your significant other, and they have this dreaded expression on their faces, it may be time to expand your repertoire. There is nothing wrong with having a half dozen or so dishes that you specialize in, but if that is all you know then you are cheating yourself out of some great culinary delights. A cooking class teaches you more than just new recipes, you will learn how to experiment with food and have fun in the kitchen.

Fast Food Fever

If you are getting fast food or take-out food three nights awake because you don’t “feel” like cooking, maybe it is because you need some inspiration. There are plenty of cooking classes that can teach you how to make quick, easy meals that do not require you to spend hours in the kitchen. Plus, really, think about what you’re eating. It is a proven fact that it is much healthier and less expensive to cook at home rather than order out.

Marie Callender is Calling

Stocking your refrigerator full of frozen foods may seem like the easy way out, but even the best-frozen meals do not taste anywhere near as good as a home-cooked dinner. Sure, it’s okay to pop a frozen meal in the oven or microwave occasionally, but not every night. Don’t deprive yourself of delicious home-cooked meals just because you feel like a disaster in the kitchen. Cooking, like any other skill, can be learned.

Fire, Fire!

If you have a bad tendency to set off smoke alarms when you’re in the kitchen, don’t feel guilty. Many people make the mistake of cooking foods too fast. For example, many people fry hamburger meat on high and end up with a greasy stovetop because of it. If you take a cooking class, you will learn the proper temperatures for cooking and realize that – in most cases – your meals will taste better if you take your time preparing them.

You’re Tired of Eating

Are you that person who looks in the refrigerator, ruffles through the cabinets, goes back to the refrigerator, and then slumps down in frustration? That doesn’t mean that you don’t know what you want. It is likely a sign that you are eating too much of the same thing. Even if you are cooking for just yourself, it can get awful boring eating the same dozen or so meals all the time. Take a cooking class and learn some new recipes to cure your food rut.

Cooking classes don’t have to be expensive and you don’t need enroll in a culinary degree program. Many community colleges and local community centers offer relatively inexpensive classes that you can work around your schedule. Not only will your taste buds thank you for it, but you will get a great opportunity to socialize as well.

 

The Second Ever Lifestyle Carnival

My pizza quesadilla post has been included in the very second Yakezie Lifestyle Carnival. Read the other posts included in this carnival here.

The Best Meal I Ever Had: Yakezie Lifestyle Blog Swap

This is a guest post from Kris over at Simple Island Living, where she writes about all things money and food from an island in the middle of the sea. Please visit her and view my guest post on the same topic.

Image of Condado de Haza via Snooth

I’ve been lucky enough to have had some pretty delightful meals in my lifetime; a plus when dating a man who works in fine dining restaurants for a living. There was an after-hours meal with friends at Bolo before it closed down, some fantastic beef tartar at Blue Ribbon in NYC, a luxurious 5-course prix-fix meal at Lumiere in Vancouver B.C., and some phenomenal cheese and salami from a tiny butcher shop in Venice that we washed down with jugs of cheap Venetian wine (did you know you can take a 2-liter and they’ll fill it up for you? Epic.).

So when Andi at Meal Plan Rescue organized a blog swap for the Yakezie Challenge, I had no idea what meal I would write about. My engagement meal? A perfect meal in Paris? A champagne brunch with friends? Sadly, most memories I have are great ones but not ones that I can remember exactly what I ate.

The only meal I can remember exactly what I had – what I drank, what I ate, how many bites I had – was a pre-shift tasting at the first restaurant I ever worked for – 727 Pine in the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. It’s closed now, and I don’t know how many people remember it. I don’t know if anyone remembers the celebrity chef they hired to run it, Danielle Custer. I do know that it was my first run-in with restaurant family, it was the first time I saw the Rock and Billy Bob Thornton in person. Snoop Dogg stayed there, the entire original cast of Hairspray ate breakfast there every morning (it was originally produced in Seattle) and by the end of it were friends with all the breakfast servers. The WWE stayed there every year, and every year the fire alarm would be pulled by some crazed fan to get all the wrestlers out of the hotel and into the street so they could scream at them. I remember Chris Jerico ordered a dozen egg-white vegetable omelet. I remember having one tiny sip of $7K Chateau Petrus that was offered to me from the wineglass of the young man who brought it. I remember an EVP of a very well known company getting drunk and peeing on the ground. I remember I loved that restaurant more than I could possibly imagine loving a place I worked at.

And I remember a meal that first introduced me to the beauty of food and wine. I liked food, and I liked wine. I liked them together, but I didn’t really understand them together. During a tasting meal one day, we all stood around one plate of steak and frites – 10 of us to one plate. Our manager went through the ingredients, and then popped a bottle of wine. It was a bottle of Condado de Haza, Ribera del Duero. It was their suggested pairing with the dish, and we were encouraged to try it. I managed to snag 2 bites of steak and 3 frites before it was gone, and, like our manager encouraged, tried those bites with the wine.

On it’s own, the steak and frites were wonderful. On it’s own, Condado de Haza is wonderful. But together? Together they made magic in your mouth.

The wine made the steak almost buttery in texture, elevating that piece of meat to god-like status. It became sumptuous, amazing. It was so incredibly good.

The steak made the slightly tannic wine smooth and silky. The berries in the wine meshed beautifully with the dark taste of the meat, the perfect char on the outside mellowing it until it became a bouquet in your mouth.

It was a taste I still remember, when I first learned that food and wine really do belong together, when I really discovered a passion for the two. And those two bites were probably, still, almost a decade later, the best meal I ever ate.