Saturday, May 25, 2013

Haute Cuisine

Neither Joe nor I can cook, although he can grill up a mean steak in his back yard or even in his kitchen with George Forman at the ready.  However, at some point after we started hanging out, we decided we needed something to go with the steak, so our first foray was into the realm of the baked potato.  Now, I know how to cook a baked potato as I eat them all the time.  However, I believe God would never have invented the microwave if He’d not wanted people to “bake” their potatoes in one of them.

Joe disagreed, being the Yankee purist he is.  He said we needed to bake our baked potatoes.  That’s when the degrees argument ensued.  He said 400 for an hour.  I said 350 (because basically 350 is my setting of choice for all cooking).  I won and what we won was a rash of rawish potatoes after an hour.  Joe was smug and said he told me so but I just put the potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes and that way I won again.

Next we tried quiche because Joe is a Francophile, plus I guess he feels manly enough to withstand any aspersive remarks toward said manliness based not only on his quiche eating but also his quiche cooking.   The quiche was good and we ate it for the next three weeks.

Next, we decided to take a cooking class.  Again, because Joe thinks he’s French, we chose the Spring in Paris Hands-On Class at the Cooks Warehouse in Decatur.  It started at 6:30, which is not only late for me to cook or eat, it’s also past my bedtime.   However, I womaned up and we set out for the class (after stopping by Taco Mac so Joe could get his free beer glass because it was Free Beer Glass Night).

Our class consisted of 12 participants in two groups, a bevy of sweet volunteers, and Chef John Wilson, who was not only not French, he was also a bit of an ass.  Our group had Joe and me, an adorable mid-20s couple who were just moving in together, a woman who was a history professor at Agnes Scott, and another woman who just liked to cook.

Chef John yelled a lot, although I don't entirely blame him.  He had an ambitious menu and 12 morons in the kitchen, people who couldn't follow directions very well.  The menu consisted of:

Three Cheese Spread with Olive Oil
Corn, Tomato, and Basil Individual Souffles
Green Beans with Bacon and Mushrooms
Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Beurre Blanc Sauce
Buttery Madeleines

Chef John was an equal opportunity yeller and we all caught some of his wrath; however, I was the only one he told to step away from the stove and to "go stand over there."  Somehow, though, having John abuse us only brought our group together in that weird common foe way.   And the class was really fun, although I think we should wait until after our instructor retires and opens that bed and breakfast he's planning before we show up for another one.

Since the class, we haven't used anything we learned, although Joe spent about thirty bucks on a Madeleine pan and a lemon zester.  We did cook a pot roast (at 350) in 80 degree weather a few weeks ago.  It took us all day but tasted good and certainly warmed our bones.  We still go to the Waffle House for breakfast most days and supper is often a bag of Lay's Salt and Vinegar potato chips.

I can't remember the temperature for baking Madeleines.  I wonder what Chef John would say if I were to tell him I just cook them in the microwave.


Meryl Baer said...

Hub and I recently took a cooking class. We made a wonderful dinner, wine included. Since then I have lost the recipes and hub continues yelling at me for using my knife wrong. Apparently I learned nothing, but thoroughly enjoyed the dinner!

Linda Calabrisi Hanks said...

Took the wrong class, hon!

Friko said...

It must be love.

This is a way of life about which I know nothing. Go out to eat breakfast? Weird. What do kids eat after school if not a home cooked meal? Yes, that goes for working mums too.

Being able to cook, plain home cooking as well as slightly fancier stuff. is something most Europeans take absolutely for granted. Men and women nowadays.

Why else do houses have kitchens?

You sound totally happy.

marciamayo said...

Friko, despite my big talk, I do know how to cook. I raised three children all by myself and we certainly didn't go out to eat very often. It's just that I've only been cooking for myself for close to 10 years and it ain't pretty.

Brig said...

Sounds like your having a good time, so glad to hear that. I can burn water better than anybody I know... if you want simple delis recipes take a look at

LC said...

I thought all chefs who consider themselves culinary gods worthy of worship are, in fact, asses. So happy for you. And you even made "standing in the corner" sound like fun. Thanks for letting us share the happiness in this new stage of your life.

cile said...

Ha Ha, Marcia! What fun that you have someone to go on culinary adventures with! I especially liked the part where you were asked to "step away from the stove!" and still you made it through unscathed to make a pot roast! Merveilleux rôti! Délicieux!

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