Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It was fun by the way even though I am not all that complimentary....

So my friend and I went and took a cooking class last night.  We went to this place near the house, but I have to say it was hidden.  I thought that the class would be held in a retail store front but it was actually in the first floor of an office building.  Had I not called to get better information I would have totally still be driving around looking for the thing.

My friend S and I decided a few weeks (maybe a month or so back) that we because of our love for food would take a cooking class together.  So here is what I had in mind, that there would be an instructor who would walk us through step by step of how to make some item and we would learn something new and wonderful to do in the kitchen.

So S left me to chose the class to take, I chose a tamale making class.  Why? Oh because tamales are delicious.  I have always wanted to make tamales at home and have always been completely overwhelmed by the idea because masa isn't just ground corn (this much I knew, the whole making of the masa, the correct consistency the whole thing... very intimidating, and when there is a place as yummy as La Popular litterally a 15 minute car drive away... why bother... but sometimes you (well me) want a tamale with chicken or less spicy pork.  So this was a great class to take and S agreed.

I walked in and sat at the table and waited for our class to start.

The first thing we were told is how to walk with a knife.  Ok there are a lot of people (20 of us) in the room and no one wants to get knifed. Ok I get that. Then we are told how to hold the knife while chopping.  No actual hands on here is how you best hold a knife to chop just a visual display.  It was weird.  We were then told where all the supplies were and then the instructor began.  Now our instructor was a darling lovely lady but not really all that good with explaining what she was doing when she made the first batch of masa.  She talked alot about where to buy chilies in Pueblo though (which isn't bad information but not really what I went there for). 

Alot of people in the class did have questions on the technique but I can't really say that I remember alot of detailed explanation of what she was doing. There were a couple of great pointers given out though... like how to tell what the correct side of the corn husk is to use, how to dry out and reuse corn husks you may not use and how to prep a dried red chile.  I did take very diligent notes.

Then we were put to work to make tamales. Our group was responsible for making the in class tasting tamales (the other groups made tamales for everyone to take home), so the pressure was on for us to churn these babies out so that there was enough time to steam them to eat before the class was over. 

I was thrilled that I got to make the masa for our group.  It was the one thing that I wanted to do so thank you dear ladies for letting me get that started and learn the feel and all that.  Now I will know what I am doing from here on out.  I appreciate you letting me take the lead on that.  The other ladies in our group made the filling and set everything up.  We got to making the tamales, spreading the masa, filling them and getting them folded up.  It was fun actually. We then started making the salsa for the class.  Here is where things go hinkie.  There were no knives to chop with except these little paring knives.  Had I known that the knife situation was such a joke, I would have brought my own.  Man it was awful.  I am doing this fine herb chop with a pairing knife and nearly took off my finger because it was so awkward.  I will remember that the next time I take a class.... bring your own knives.  I have great knives so why not be a snot and bring them?  Then we are chopping the cilantro and the company leader lady comes over and chastises us for using too much.  Then wants us to make the salsa with Roma Tomatoes instead of the beef steak tomatoes also on the table.  Given the choice, I am using beefsteak tomatoes for salsa honey.  Sorry.

Then gives us this palm sized onion to use.  It was odd. And told us we could only use two of the beef steak tomatoes.  Sorry 2 tomatoes and one tiney little onion seems really skimpy for 20 people.  But because our team / table were really awesome, we made it work.  We made sure to have two batchs of salsa one with cilantro and one without. Asking for that second serving bowl though was really strange.

The course provider seemed really really under prepared.  Sure alot of the things were already prepped but ask for an extra knife or bowl and you are screwed. 

Our team was shredding cheese and didn't have anything to put it in... I grabbed two glass pie dishes from under a counter (one it was close and two easy to use) and you would think I had spit in the woman's eye. She was very upset at me. But hey we were making for the class and had to make it work. 

We beefed up the filling for a little side salad since there was so much left over and the instructor gave us this knowing little nod that it was good.  We all liked that very much.

So all in all it was really fun.  I made myself really proud because I really would have thought that I would have been a little control freak and want to do everything... but I asked if I could make the masa and then once I got the feel for it let a couple of other people in our group try it too. One lady didn't want to but I told her she should get a good feel for it.  She said she was glad she did. 

I would definitely take another class but would probably do it someplace else. Not that this wasn't lovely and fun and probably really GREAT for team building... it just was a little too chaotic for my tastes.  For the same amount of money I probably could have hired someone to come over to my house and show me and S how to do it.  I might have to think about that next time for sure.

I would like to continue this journey because I would really very much like to try and learn a new technique or skill maybe monthly or something.  I would imagine that there is a chef or even a student out there that might want to teach a lady new things every now and again and get paid for it????

All in all it was fun, I did in fact learn what I went in there for, I was a little confused by the whole teaching process went down, but we got what we needed out of the whole thing so it's ok.

I look forward to doing it again!

I am leaving out the name of the place because S asked if she could take pictures because she was going to blog about it and the owner lady was not too happy, so in order to follow suit... I will also not name names.  I will answer off list though. 

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