I feel pretty passionate about encouraging people to cook more at home. You don't need a lot of special equipment or ingredients to turn out delicious meals. But sometimes it's easy to let the lack of those things hold you back. And that's where a cooking class can help, because it forces you to put a knife in your hand and stand in front of a stove, maybe for the first time. This is especially true with kids. It's never too early to expose them to basic kitchen skills and an appreciation for food.
Luckily there are a number of resources for cooking classes in and around Arlington, for all ages and abilities. Kids Cooking Green, one of the organizations where I teach, is offering several classes for elementary school kids in three different Arlington schools this spring: Stratton, Brackett and Peirce. The focus is on discovering local food resources here in New England, and classes range from cheesemaking to pasta to crepes. Check out the listings here.
Another great choice for kids, teens especially, is Tanya The Homestyle Gourmet. She does basics for kids and teens, plus special classes like sushi, baking, and snacks. She teaches just over the line in West Medford.
My alma mater, the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, has a wide array of recreational classes for the amateur cook. The classes may seem pricey, but there’s a reason why the classes sell out almost every time-the chef instructors are top notch and facilities are great.
And finally, from the department of shameless self-promotion, I am launching a series of classes for adults starting in March. It's called Keys to the Kitchen: Basics of Home Cooking, offered at the high school through Arlington Community Education. The class will meet over six weeks and will focus on fundamental cooking techniques, healthy eating, and saving money at the grocery store. Think of it as boot camp for the home cook.
So get out there and get cooking!