by Treva McNally
Is it just my imagination or have cooking lessons become the latest form of entertainment? Classes seem to be popping up everywhere, including the community rooms at SuperStore and Sobeys, at Community Schools and at the Uncommon Grocer, and there are probably more because I didn't look very hard to find those ones. Many classes are free, although several cost $5 and a few of the more exotic ones cost $10. I've also heard rumors that some guys have signed up to take cooking lessons so that they can meet women but I can't confirm that.
I decided to see what it was all about and found I could register for instructions on Healthy Cooking, Weight Loss, Meal Planning, Culinary Adventure, Kids Cooking, Cajun Cuisine, Mexican Fiesta, Healthy Resolution, Japanese Cuisine, East Indian Made Easy, Moroccan Cuisine, Spanish Cuisine, or Heart Smart cooking. An advertisement which promised to teach me "to lose weight and drop my cholesterol permanently with vegetarian cooking lessons from The Uncommon Grocer" appealed to me because I had always been curious about vegetarian cooking and I could take it during the day, so I signed up.
The sessions were held in the large open rear area of the store, and seven of us were there for the first class. It was the owner/instructor Barb MacLeod's first time teaching but her enthusiasm more than made up for her inexperience. The first week she made Falafel Balls accompanied by a vegetable spread, and while the falafel was good, the spread (which was made from tofu) was delicious. The next week Barb made a leek and tofu quiche which didn't appeal to me, but I was enjoying myself and decided that I would take a few more classes to see what else I could learn. It was a good decision, because later she made grilled tofu with mushroom sauce and Creole tempeh which were both so good that I made them at home and got rave reviews from my non-vegetarian family.
After just five classes, I'm not about to embrace vegetarianism completely, but I did learn to prepare some good tofu dishes and I became aware of some healthier substitutes to use when cooking. In the process, I met some interesting people and had a good time. If you have an evening free, it's well worth the small expenditure of time and money to take a cooking lesson and dazzle your friends and family afterwards. The hardest part will be deciding which one to take.