Last night as part of my wife's corporate holiday party, we were treated to a cooking class at Braise restaurant in Milwaukee. For those that don't know, my wife works at Purple Door Ice Cream in Milwaukee. It is owned by two of the coolest people going, Lauren and Steve Schultz. Every year as a recognition to their staff, they have a post-holiday party of sorts to recognize the hard work of their staff.
So when it was announced that this year we would be spending the evening in a class where we learned how to cook a couple of appetizers which we would then eat, I was both intrigued and a little mortified.
You see, I'm not much of a cook.
Oh, I can get by and am capable of the basics, but as a rule, it is really not my thing. I can do it, but to me it is drudgery and work. I know it's weird, but it has never been something that "relaxes me" like it does for my wife.
Well, at the class, there were six cooking stations with 3 people to a station and a chef up front doing all the instructing. We were going to make two Asian dishes. 1. Fried Pot Stickers and, 2. Spring Rolls. I was at a station with my wife and her brother and his partner. Somehow they agreed that I should do most of the up front work, as it would be good to learn.
And I know it is completely stupid and unfounded, but I was worried and a little stressed out about it. I didn't want to mess up, and I knew I was beside a couple of amazing cooks (my wife and Jake) and an amazing baker (Mark). Me, well, I do a really good grilled cheese - when I'm not burning it.
Well, thankfully these sessions are extremely well scripted. And, also thankfully, you can drink beer while you're cooking. For starters, all the ingredients were set before us ahead of time, in the amount they were to be used.
Then, he talked us through everything and I had big help from the two cooks to my left. Once I got into the swing of things, the anxiety went down and I actually found it kind of interesting. At the same time, it is very much like art, in that you have to know what goes well with what, as well as a good idea of what the end result will taste (or look) like. At one point he was squeezing limes into a spring roll mix to introduce acid into the mix to do something or other. That's the kind of stuff I wouldn't intuitively do, though could probably learn over time.
We got to eat our dishes and both of them were really, really delicious.
It was a great time with some fun people. I could almost see myself taking to cooking more if I took some more classes in it. I would likely be treading on my wife's territory though, as she sort of takes over a kitchen. I will be completely honest, I was well aware of her cooking savvy when we married and I haven't regretted one minute of it.
Even if it has perhaps squelched my own experimentation with cooking.
And on a related note, it is really cool to see my kids Sarah and Ben both starting to get into cooking in a big way. Ben will actually cook meals at his apartment and sell them to his roommates. It is a win-win for both. Sarah and Sam are also into it including getting a few knives and pans for Christmas gifts, because they like it so much.
Food is the great unifier. And last night I learned it can be a lot of fun.