I’m waiting for Mr. Cookie to return from Memphis tonight on a delayed flight and while I’m sitting here I thought I might as well share with you what I did this evening.

My friend GirlyQ had been suggesting for awhile that we take some cooking classes together, so when Groupons came up for a local cooking school we decided to jump on the opportunity.  We signed up for a chocolate class (tonight) and a chicken class (next month).  I expected to learn a couple new techniques and get a couple recipes but wound up getting so much more.

ArtEpicure is located in the Brickbottom building, which houses the Brickbottom Artist Association.  I was living completely unaware that such a fabulous organization or place existed until just recently.  Artists rent spaces in this building and, as it turns out some also live there.  The chef who owns the cooking school lives there with his wife in a cozy space that includes a kitchen space surrounded by floor to ceiling book shelves, a smaller curtained off studio where his wife makes jewelry, and an upstairs loft area where they sleep.  You are surrounded by the many implements of a seasoned chef along with hand crafted marionette puppets hanging along a window, photographs of far away places covering the fridge, and walls crowded with paintings.  Two cats hold court and watch the proceedings.  As I learned, they do not object to petting and in fact will stretch out and bask in your ministrations but know to keep their distance while the cooking takes place.  It is a homey place because it is a home.  You sit around a huge island where Chef Mark talks to you as you all assist in preparing incredible food.

In addition to taking away recipes for chocolate mousse, chocolate pudding, bourbon truffles, chocolate soup, and flourless chocolate cake, I took away a newfound appreciation for fresh local food and a deep respect for the art of culinary mastery.  Chef Mark really believes in shopping locally and fresh as much as he can and is happy to divulge his favorite markets, farms, and brands for everything.  Huge bars of chocolate were chopped down for each recipe.  Nary a Hershey or Toll House bag was in sight.  Eggs and raw milk that had been procured at a farm in Foxboro were also used, along with organic sugar.  Even though we were not cooking anything but chocolate recipes for this class, he also talked about his own experiences as a chef including practices in buying and cooking meat.  Cans can’t be found in his kitchen (well, except for the coconut milk we used in the soup) but instead you can find one whole wall with ceiling to countertop shelves covered in glass jars of beans, spices, grains, and baking supplies.

There was such an incredible love and respect for food shown in his kitchen that it reminded me how special and lovely food can be when prepared completely by hand.  It has ignited in me a desire to buy less prepared food and take more time making my own.  I want to cut back on the amount of chemicals I’m putting into my body.  I want to eat local foods.  I want to take the time and love to cook wonderful foods that I and my husband can enjoy together.  Surely this desire will make us healthier and bring us closer.  There is something about the ritual of preparing food that nourishes my soul and too often I get caught up in the need to make something quickly that quality and health is sacrificed.

I believe that I may make my own chicken stock next week and freeze it.

1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    GirlyQ said,

    It was awesome. I can’t wait for chicken class!

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