Thursday, January 15, 2009
Happiness is French Cooking Class
As I reported yesterday, Nathaniel did not want to go to the French cooking class Monday afternoon, but his teacher, Gayle, was so good she won him over in the first few minutes. It didn't hurt that she had a really cute puppy underfoot. Every few minutes Nathaniel would give me the eye and nod toward the puppy. "Get one for Dad," he would mouth silently. Even if I couldn't have read his lips, I would have known what he was trying to tell me.
Gayle's daughter, Anna, is in the class, too. Happily, next week a male friend of hers will be joining. That will max out Gayle's kitchen, so I will probably not attend any more classes.
Gayle involved all of her students' senses in the cooking experience, having them shake the produce and smell the aroma, then giving them leaves of cilantro and parsley to chew and asking for their opinion of the flavors.
She showed them how to hold a knife properly, chop an onion, and debone a chicken breast. She talked to them about the properties of different herbs--like the ability of bay leaf to aid in food preservation--while they were chopping vegetables for their soup.
She had them sampling the soup pot regularly and giving their suggestions. This process was used again when they made the salad dressing.
They set the table. Then Nathaniel filled the soup bowls and garnished them with a stylistic flick of his wrist, clearly enjoying himself.
We all sat down together and enjoyed a lovely meal punctuated with happy talk.
After the cleanup, Nathaniel and Emma both thanked Gayle profusely. I recognized that Nathaniel was ready to give her a hug, but she was distracted and didn't give him the opportunity.
Nathaniel and Emma can't wait to go back next Monday. They'll be making a French onion soup and a fish soup--and lovin' on that cute, lil ol' dawg every chance they get. Bless their pea-pickin' hearts!