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Strangers At The Door. Friends In The Kitchen.

Cooking classes bring people together.  You are all there with a common goal to learn new recipes and techniques about something you are passionate about. That being said, we have had a few naysayers in the past but usually they end up converted to the love of cooking. How cool is that?

Chip and I have taken a number of these classes together and have departed the kitchen classroom excited to go forth and create. More importantly, we were happy to have had the opportunity to share the experience with strangers.  Yes, strangers.

Last Friday’s topic was It’s a Utica thing! focusing on the original Italian recipes indigenous to Utica, NY.  The menu consisted of Tomato Pie, Utica Greens, Chicken Riggies and Halfmoon Cookies (or what downstate people call Black & Whites).

The classroom is spacious with three work stations meant for the students to roll up their sleeves and participate- together.  Facing the work stations is a gallery where the students can sip wine and enjoy the fruits of their labor. This session, our cooking mates were a mom and two daughters.  They were very funny and engaging and soon we were in sync working on the recipes as 5-some.  It was like a symphony of musicians playing together to create a beautiful piece.  I have said in the past that when Chip and I cook, it is like a dance. The movements are slow and smooth and the motions of the process of cooking soon become one. It really is very cool, especially with people you have just met.

The hardest part is having the discipline of not licking a spoon, sticking your finger in the batter or adjusting the recipes as you go. Our co-chef Christine is a baker and she led the way with making the halfmoon cookies.  She was patient. I wanted to just add the stuff and crank up that KitchenAid. Those three ladies had perfectly symmetrical cookies.  Chip and I created cookies that were “unique”. My dad always said they all go down the same way. Amen.

At the end of the night, we shared our stories, our food and said goodnight.  Another great cooking class in the books.

If any of you ever have the opportunity or the desire to take a cooking or baking class, do it and go in with an open mind and heart.  Share your experiences and you will come away fulfilled.

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