Monday, February 13, 2012


I love teaching people to cook. There’s something about teaching in general, but especially cooking, that’s inherently satisfying. I like to see that look on someone’s face when the light bulb clicks on and they understand something they didn’t moments before. Maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be, but there’s just something about teaching someone how to cook that’s different, maybe because they’ll do it the rest of their lives, and they might just teach someone else what they’ve learned from you.

Equally gratifying is being around other people who love to cook. You share victories, horror stories, short-cuts, techniques, and a passion for feeding people. In a real way you’re feeding off each other, leaving eager to try that recipe or ingredient someone else shared and give it away again. And that’s what I love about our Culinary Club.

Last year, Jackie and I started a cooking class for people who wanted to learn to cook better (or learn to cook in the first place), but also wanted to participate in this kind of community. We talk about different techniques, dishes, cooking methods, and other food-related topics, then cook together using what we’ve learned. But here’s the tricky part: our “homework” to complete before the next class always involves inviting people into our homes and cooking for them. I’ve talked before about the importance of cooking for other people, so I won’t rehash the whole conversation, but it bears repeating that opening your home and cooking for other people is a game-changer. It can open up your view of who your family is and can remind you of what hospitality should mean.

This year, the Culinary Club has set a lot of goals for itself, some of which are pretty daunting, but all of which encourage us to use food and cooking to serve our community. Culinary Club meets the first and third Thursdays of every month at Northside Church of Christ in Bloomington, IL at 6:30 p.m. and is open to absolutely everyone. We ask only for a donation for groceries and that you come ready to participate. Our next meeting is on Thursday, February 23 (yes, I know that’s the fourth Thursday, but who’s counting) and we’ll learn about the classic mother sauces – what they are, why you should care, how to use them, their infinite flexibility, and so on. If you’d like to attend, and I really hope you do, please e-mail me at so we can grocery shop properly.

From time to time, I’ll post here about what we discussed in Culinary Club as well as upcoming classes. For example, my next post will be about our first meeting this year: a shared meal of the roast duck you see above, sautéed potatoes (sautéed in the duck fat, no less), and a viewing of the classic movie Babette’s Feast, which is also a game-changer.

See you in class!