My Eldest has had a culinary bent from toddlerhood; among her first entertainment idols were Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. When she was about three, she very solemnly informed us that her dinner required fresh-ground “black paper” to truly be a success. We eventually worked around the verbal intricacies of a very small child learning about food from a French-speaking chef, and fresh-ground black pepper has been a kitchen staple ever since.
Her love of all-things-kitcheny continues. She’s looking at long-term culinary life options, which is very cool. A few weeks ago, we came across a local resource that’s definitely sparking some interest in an avenue of culinary careers beyond restaurants. Today, she and I swiped the car (the first weekend it’s been free of Boy Scouts!), and headed north a bit to the nifty demo kitchen at the Prepared Pantry shop for a free demo/tasting workshop. (Reason #68 to Homeschool: tasting cheesecake falls under “Career Exploration”, and thus counts for school. How great is that?)
The demo kitchen is lovely; spacious enough that with 30+ people (of all ages) seated comfortably, it felt neither crowded nor cavernous. Great acoustics (no echo!) made for easy listening at any spot in the room. I know from my own teaching how hard it is to deal with an echo when teaching, and really appreciated that as a student! Our instructor was very friendly and fun… while some cooking classes can be intimidating, her manner removed that entirely. She was happy to answer questions from the class, and several of us had a great time staying after a few minutes, brainstorming new cheesecake flavor options (one of which I’m definitely going to try!)
And, the cheesecake was really, really nice. (My particular favorite was the pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust. OH MY.)
Prepared Pantry is a family-owned local business, with a focus on *real* foods, made more convenient. Their shop (and site) goes beyond the basics in a lot of respects… how about ready-to-mix packages of garlic & parmesan popovers, or huckleberry extract? They’ve got that. Maybe a pizza stone, and multiple really interesting pancake mixes (preservative free!)? Yep, that too. Free tastes of whatever was taught in the twice-weekly cooking demos? You betcha. And, they have a lot of cool freebies (email lists!) and recipes on their site, too. The shop focus is on the foods and equipment; everything is displayed well, without crowding, and easily reached by actual human beings (no forklift required). I’m a stickler for good organization, clear labels, and all that jazz; they do that well, too!
Rebel against the Industrial Food Complex. Support local and regional real food efforts. You’ll definitely taste a difference.