Though I love to cook, the truth is I have no real skill in the kitchen, no formal training. When I heard that Kris and Craig planned to take a knife class together, I asked to tag along.
Our class was held at In Good Taste, a kitchen store located in the heart of Portland’s Pearl District. The store, which comes highly recommended by food maven Amy Jo, features a fantastic selection of cookbooks, wine, and knives. It sells lots of other kitchen gadgets, too. Between In Good Taste and the nearby Sur La Table, a home cook can find a lot of fun toys!
In the center of In Good Taste is a vast kitchen island, the store’s cooking school. Available classes range from knife skills (basic and advanced) to hearty winter soups to hands-on sausage making. Our class was taught by Chef Lucy, who was both knowledgable and patient. She introduced various knife cuts, demonstrated them for us, and then allowed us to practice on a bin of vegetables. Each of the fourteen students was rather raw, and Lucy took time during each cut to walk around and examine our progress. (We were all raw except for Craig, that is. “You’ve done this before,” Lucy said, examining his finely julienned carrot. My julienne was less good, though Lucy did admire one of my orange supremes.)
I was pleased with the class. Even if the only long-term skill I take from it is a better way to dice onions, it’s worth the time and money, but I hope to be able to retain the other skills we were taught.
“I really like this knife,” I told Kris as we were mincing garlic. “It’s better than anything we have at home.”
“You know,” I said, undissuaded, “my birthday is coming up. And we get ten percent off anything we buy here after this class today.”
“Okay,” Kris said. “You can have a knife for your birthday. But you can’t use it until your birthday!”
While Kris browsed the kitchen gadgets, I picked out a 6.5-inch Shun Santoku knife, the very knife we used in the class. It was a tough choice whether or not to purchase a scalloped blade; I opted for a smooth edge.
When we got home, I took out my knife and my cutting board (I have a special J.D.-only cutting board that I love — this same cutting board was used in the cooking class) and, just for the hell of it, I diced an onion. “I thought I told you that you couldn’t use your knife until your birthday,” Kris mumbled, but she relented when I reminded her that she was allowed to use her Christmas present — a new food processor — to prepare for Friend Thanksgiving.
I enjoy cooking (and, especially, eating) and it pleases me to acquire good kitchen equipment and good kitchen skills.