Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Techniques of Fine Cooking -- Cooking Up Some Harsh Reality

After a good year of hemming and hawing over the (admittedly shocking) price tag I finally signed up for the Fine Cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education as a reward for my promotion in November. The class is every Monday night for 5 weeks from 6pm-11pm -- here's what they're promising me:
These are the classes on which our recreational program’s reputation was built. Over 15,000 students have taken this series. Once you master essential cooking techniques, you possess the culinary grounding to cook both classical cuisines and the latest cooking styles. These full-participation classes teach fundamental skills, not recipes. Instead of narrowly focusing on a roast duckling recipe, for example, you’ll master roasting techniques that can be applied to foods from fish to fruit. The curriculum was designed under the guidance of Director of Education Richard Simpson. You’ll learn all the important cooking methods, from simple grilling to mousse making. As you advance through the series, you’ll gradually come to understand each cooking concept. You’ll have a firm grasp of ingredients and equipment; you’ll know why things happen and how to avoid and correct mistakes. Most importantly, you’ll gain the experience you need to cook with confidence and pleasure---without relying strictly on recipes. Each class culminates with a student-prepared meal. Each course consists of five five-hour classes. Fine Cooking 1 is a prerequisite to Fine Cooking 2.
They also give you free wine. They must think I can't possibly drink $575 worth of wine in a mere 5 weeks. Fools. The first class was last night and it delivered on this and so much more....

The Menu

3 Variations on Gazpacho
Sauteed Broccoli
Pomme Persillade
Sauteed Lamb Chops with Herb Butter
Simple Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
Fresh Fruit Masurated with Liqueur

My Observations

  1. If you're looking to meet a bunch of adorable gay Broadway actors might I suggest a Monday night cooking class in Manhatten? (for those out of the theatre loop: Monday night is Broadway's dark night so all of the actors can roam free) . I am a bit saddened that all of the cute boys appear to be eyeing only each other but I did meet one who knows the hot boy from Spelling Bee (whose homosexuality is now confirmed :() and he hinted that we should all go out sometime which would be awesome because it I love nothing more than taunting myself with yummy eye candy that I can never taste.
  2. I am ridiculously lazy. When a recipe suggests that I chop some vegetables, especially when said chopping is further described using the words "small" and "dice," I am immediatly transported back to age 15, my eyes roll deep into my cerebellum, I make that short little exasperated sighing noise, I slouch, I can hardly keep from bringing up how hot Brandon Walsh looked in his board shorts and oakleys. "Oh god," I think, "this could take as much as thirty seconds! Probably it's fine if I hack the potato in quarters and call it a day." Turns out actually chopping things into the suggested size improves recipes!
  3. I am kind of dense when it comes to really basic knowledge. I can make random unnecessary things like olive bread and ginger ale and klesla and chioppino but I've been struggling with why my broccoli can't stand up to what I order from generic Chinese take out. The answer? Blanching. Blanching *then* sauteeing. thank you again $575 class.

Yes, these are the kinds of thing I pay $575 for. Clearly cooking class is like therapy, it just reminds you that all of the things you are working very hard to believe are unimportant details actually make all of the difference in the world. Bye bye sweet sweet denial, I will miss you.

Note: One should not get the impression from this snotty little entry that I did not enjoy the cooking class -- it was awesome.


Lisa said...

rats! I TOTALLY have a Barrett crush. Brianna I am going to fall asleep sad tonight, thanks. Thats such a clever idea though- the Monday night class! I will keep it in mind for if I come back to New York this summer!

Amy said...

So that means dinner on Wednesday will be schmancy, right?

court said...

That cute guy from Spelling Bee....the one with the cape on? Gay?! I think you actually siad you thought he might be when we saw it but I wasn't convinced...until now! What a sad day it is for me....all the way over here in teh uk it was highly likely that I was going to meet him, fall in love, get impregnated, elope and live happily ever after! oh well...back to the drawing board! Lucky I hadn't ditched Darren just yet! :)