MANGES! MANGI! Eat! (in French) Eat! (in Italian) Words you never have to say twice to either of the Kelley (now Foy & Jones) sisters in any language. This blog came into existence as a result of a new series of classes Mandy and I have developed for Upper Arlington's Lifelong Learning program. If you have never heard of nor taken a class through the city's parks and rec department, you should consider it. UA's Lifelong Learning program is one of the (if not THE) largest adult self-enrichment program in the country, offering the gamut of fitness, craft, art, cooking, language classes at reasonable rates. I've been teaching architectural, history & armchair-travel classes with them for 6 or 7 years now and have a regular following of wonderful, engaging people. When approached a few months ago about teaching culinary classes, which are in huge demand, I was flattered. Ummm... I love to teach. I love to cook.
But I have never taught cooking. I have, however, taken cooking classes in several countries, write for Edible Columbus, recently blogged for Patricia Wells, and have eaten my way around a few cities (Columbus especially!) as part of my research for a few books and magazines. After sleeping on it, I decided this foodie is up for up for a challenge. It would be a refreshing change of pace from my usual lecture-slideshow driven classes, but I know my limitations... which is not knowing how to teach cooking. A slight drawback when teaching a culinary course. But I had other ideas. Given that food is often discussed in my other classes, I hoped to create more of a tour-de-cuisine, combining food and regional history of a specific area (France for starters) and would have someone more qualified teach the actual cooking portion.
It was a no brainer to enlist my sister, Mandy Jones to take on the technique portion of the class, while I speak to the background of each dish and a general culinary heritage. She was very excited to join me in this adventure and we came up with a series called Simply French in which we would teach three classes focused on: crepes, Provençal dishes and traditional French market food. Simplifying (potentially intimidating) French techniques, while maintaining the flavor and integrity of each recipe. The folks at Lifelong Learning loved the idea and so our tour de cuisine was born. (Not to mention, my ulterior motive for creating Wanderlust Tours that might someday go on a Simply French cooking spree- but that's for another day. Another blog.) We chose crepes as our first class because Mandy and I grew up on crepes and are well-versed in making various types from regions all over France. Not to mention, we wanted to take on something with which we were totally comfortable for our first class. It worked out well. Our first class was last Thursday, held at the Upper Arlington Recreation Station Kitchen (a defunct firehouse- a venue with potential).
The crepe class was a success. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but we were pleased with the way things went and intend to blog about the class soon. NEXT UP: Provence on a Plate (a title that was selected long before I ever received Patricia Wells's cookbook, Salad as a Meal, which has a lovely recipe of the same name.) We'll make ratatouille, a few Provençal salads, biscuits, and a tart.