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"Sandra Lee" Type Cooking Class Students

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
The previous posts about Sandra Lee got me thinking about the cooking classes I teach. These are not for a professional school but rather, are open to the general public.

It's amazing how many people come to the class who really don't want to cook. I'm *****strating how to peel and chop garlic and someone will ask if you can use the pre-chopped garlic in the jar. I'm trying to give them a recipe for homemade breadsticks and inevitably someone will promote Pillsbury. Nobody wants to be bothered with homemeade stock or pie crusts from scratch. Almost weekly I get questions about substituting processed, jarred, or microwaved alternatives.

It's like they're taking a cooking class to learn how not to cook.

Despite the renewed interest in food and cooking in our culture over the last two decades, it appears that the masses still apporach food preparation as a tedious chore. Just one more task to be downsized and efficiently incorporated into the hectic, multi-tasked regime of modern American society.

Sadly, for millions of Americans, unlike many Europeans, food is not a celebration of life. Instead of food preparation and the sharing of a meal being part of the fabric of our family and our society, it has become analogous to putting gas in the car. One more chore to squeeze in between others.

And that's why Sandra Lee and Rachael Ray will always have good ratings.
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #2 of 16
Sadly enough that was well said :(
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #3 of 16
MarkV, I agree with what you are saying here about preparation of and enjoyment of quality food not being a priority to many Americans. What we have to realize is that many of us do have a hectic schedule. It's hard to prepare a meal from scratch when you work all day, have kids' needs to attend to and other chores, etc.

I have no problem with using a good boxed stock as an ingredient in dishes, or using canned tomatoes, etc. I think Rachael Ray's shows are O.K. All she does is *****strate some shortcuts and quick methods (while giggling and talking real loud). Most ingredients are fresh and I've tried some of her recipes and they were good. If you can tolerate the over the top perkiness, you will learn to make some good and pretty wholesome meals.

Sandra Lee is another story. I don't believe Semi-Homemade serves anyone any good. If you need to cook this way, do everyone a favor and order out! :p
"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." -Lin Yutang
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"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." -Lin Yutang
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post #4 of 16
It is truly a sad state of affairs. It is sad that most people nowadays don't really know how to cook, and view as a chore to get done as quickly as possible. And I agree with you Mark, this is why FNTV has sunk to the likes Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray. But look on the bright side. Since these people, don't like to cook, they eat out more often, guaranteeing me job security!!! :D :p :D
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Kerryclan:

Yes, a lot of people really don't have the time to make meals from scratch. That's not so much their fault as it is society's. If only we could honor the European tradition, (which sadly is slowly deteriorating), of taking an extended break during the afternoon to eat and bond with friends and family.

Pete:

Ya know, I never thought of it your way but you're right. That's the silver lining in this cloud. It's better for chefs to have a society that thinks food preparation in the pain-the-you-know-what.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #6 of 16
I live with this balancing act, as most people do. I am one of the few people I know that cooks every night, mostly from scratch (and I love making big breakfasts and lunches on the weekend). I have a husband that loves my cooking, but actually could care less about taste quality because he says, "Hate to break it to you, but I don't care that much about food. It's just something I do three times a day so I can keep doing other things." (The only thing he cares about are my homemade eggrolls which he wouldn't trade for any other eggroll in the world.)

It blows my mind, but I live with it every day. It's not just a decline in interest in cooking, but a decline in caring about putting good, healthy, tasty things in your mouth that worries me even more!

Sara
post #7 of 16
WOW! I'm starting to really appreciate my husband and teen child. They ask me to make certain things because they love them so much and even invite friends over to try my cooking or give samples to friends and co-workers. I'm glad they appreciate good ingredients and cooking.

What I regret is that I can't cook the way I'd like to all the time. With a full time job, and other responsibilities, the weekends are mainly when I have fun and do some real cooking!

We have to remember that pre-Julia, American cuisine was pretty hideous for the most part. The Europeans had a long time to get where they are. America is still young in comparison. Hopefully, as we import, and learn more, we'll continue to improve.
"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." -Lin Yutang
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"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." -Lin Yutang
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post #8 of 16
What Kerryclan just said exactly fits my circumstance - except that there are Europeans and there are Europeans. I am European by birth and my mother was a professional housewife (or "homemaker" in today's lexicon) in Scotland. European for sure but the British at that time did not enjoy a reputation for fine cooking. Something I am happy to say that is changing and quite quickly too.

I am curious though, I wonder if French or Italian women actually liked (or still like) the "chore" of cooking 3 meals a day for the family or did they do it simply because they were expected to? The fact that they did it well does not necessarly mean they liked what they did.

Getting away from the purity of food in all its aspects is the price we pay for the higher standard of living we enjoy in the USA. Other places including Europe are catching up with the US in their standard of living and paying the same price of convenience foods also. It's hard to find a good hand made croissant in Paris any more.

I use some convenience foods like a good carton stock or canned tomatoes but mostly I stay away from packaged food.

Jock
post #9 of 16

housewives

I grew up in an Asian household, 5 kids, mom and dad. My mom was and still is an excellent cook. I know for a fact she enjoyed cooking but felt pressure to think of new things to make day in and day out. My dad is a great cook too but since he worked out of the house he had no time. She handled it all.

Now I am lucky enough to be a housewife, lucky because we are comfortable enough for me not to have to work. My hubby works out of the house 10 hours a day and I work in the house about 4-5 a day. Not chasing the mighty dollar or Euro is refreshing and gives me time to think of things to make for dinner.

When people take cooking classes but look for shortcuts I think they are not only lacking time but experience in the kitchen and creativity. It takes quite a bit of brain power to think of ingredients, what you have vs. what you need, do you have all the supplies need etc.. I think this is what people are craving to learn. Does sage go with guinea fowl, pork, or not? What sauce should I make with lamb? How do I poach fish? How long? For a 2" thick steak, how many minutes per side? How about a 1" steak? All this takes experience and once you get the hang of it you can make hundrends of dishes off the top of your head. Many people were not lucky enough to be tied to their mother's or father's apron strings. If that's the case, their in the self-taugh catagory, it's still a great, exciting, foodie place to be and they should be encouraged to care about make the freshest, best food possible.
(Shh!!! I have used dried porcini before.)
post #10 of 16
Mangilao30, you so beautifully put what I was ineptly trying to say. AMEN!
"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." -Lin Yutang
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"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." -Lin Yutang
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post #11 of 16
Hey oh

You know, with a very little bit of tweeking, that parragraph could work very nicely to advertise/promote/explain the philosophy of the cooking class to the students.

That way, when it gets suggested (for example, my moms fav) "why not liptons onion soup mix on top?"... you can say "great, but it's the long weekend, and you have none, so lets learn to make our own!"

:D
Space...the final frontier. These are the voyages of KeeperOfTheGood. His lifetime mission: to explore strange new worlds of flavour, to seek out new life and and ways of cooking it- to boldly grill where no man has grilled before.
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Space...the final frontier. These are the voyages of KeeperOfTheGood. His lifetime mission: to explore strange new worlds of flavour, to seek out new life and and ways of cooking it- to boldly grill where no man has grilled before.
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post #12 of 16
Sarah, my husband is exactly the same. He appreciates my efforts, but unless something goes horribly wrong (and that happens now and then!), he honestly can't tell the difference between ho-hum, rushed food and the dishes I really work at. Now that I'm about to retire from my teaching job, I'll be able to actually invite people over to dinner more often and hear those golden words, "This is really good!"
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***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
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post #13 of 16
Sara and Mezzaluna: Trust in this...the day you stop making them your good stuff is the day they will truly appreciate your efforts! :D
"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." -Lin Yutang
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"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." -Lin Yutang
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post #14 of 16

cooking class

It really does not matter who knows my dishes are good, I KNOW. I taste everything before it is served and when I was younger I used to trash all semi-okay tasting stuff now it becomes more rare. Now I just wait for the "This is yummy" sounds to come from friends and family. I'm part scientist and will make a recipe several times to get it right. One of my classics is a decadent chocolate torte with fresh rasberry sauce and fresh berries.

Having nice skills in the kitchen are for sharing. Who wants to eat alone or with the dog and "make yummy" sounds all alone. Many of us take pride in our skills and the ability to take the time to make others happy too. I like that, making others happy. I wish I could open up my kitchen to the public once a week.

Here in Italy, people are always heading to other people's places for dinner, in the US it was a bit more rare esp. during the weekdays b/c they didn't want to cause others to be inconvienced with soccer p/u, work, kid's stuff etc.. Sad, we need to eat more and share more.
post #15 of 16
Don't get me wrong, my hubby is appreciative! But take last night for instance. I made mango salsa and chips. One of the mangoes wasn't quite ripe, but the other was sweeter and better. I know that I can give the not-quite-ripe one to him, and keep the sweeter one for me. He really can't tell the difference, and even if he could, he wouldn't care...

Ahh, a blessing and a curse.

Oh, I agree with you. But like you said later in your post, your joy is infinitely increased if you can share your good stuff with others. Not for the praise, but for the act of sharing itself. All my meals with friends ends with a, "If you like this, it's really easy! Let me write down the recipe for you!"

This is making me hungry.

Sara
post #16 of 16

excellence in cooking

feeling many of the same emotions as most of you.

twenty years from now, is that kid you are shuffling off to
soccer practice STILL gonna be playing soccer?? same goes for
any other activities being shuffled off to.
ahhhhhhhhh ... but have that same kid helping prep and cook
with you in the kitchen and there are feelings shared, history
spoken, time spent together, and twenty years from now the kid
will still be cooking.

besides which ... i CANNOT count the many times women, after
tasting what i cook, have volunteered to shoot my wife and marry
me. sadly and needless to say, for my wife, it's just another meal.
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