So, did I mention that I'm taking a cooking class at my school? And I'm not talking about a measly two-hour cooking class where you learn the basics of Thai cooking or something like that. I'm talking about a full-on, 11-week class through our top-notch culinary program — just another kick-ass perk of working for a natural health university!
Needless to say, Mom and Charlie both were not impressed when I shared with them the big news. I bragged about the knife skills I would learn, Charlie said, "I could teach you that." I bragged about the course title, "Soups and Seasonings with Intuition," and Mom just looked at me like I was a fool to take a class when I could just teach myself to cook like she did.
Maybe I'm just too American, but I want to learn from the experts. I want to learn which foods pair well together and how to make my dishes pretty. And I want to feel confident about the food that I'm making.
So far, not so good. Sure, it's a cooking class, but it's a class that aims to teach us how to cook our own food, so we're not using recipes, we're just being given a topic and told to run with it. Week one was a vegetable broth, and although my decision to add smoked paprika to the mix was a bold one, I'm not sure if it was such a tasty one.
But the whole point of the class is to learn, and learn I already have. Our always-encouraging teacher, Chef Omid Roustaei, told us a secret that I probably should have learned from my mother, but I didn't. Every week, he takes the scraps of all of the vegetables I've been putting in my compost bin (onion skins, carrot ends, kale stalks, etc), and makes broth out of them to make his grains with or even to use as a soup base.
When I'd just cooked up my first batch and told Bryan what I was doing, he pointed out that Mom does that too, except she uses those scraps not necessarily as a broth, but she puts them in the soups she makes each day, which is why every time I have one of her soups the ingredients are different. She puts my wastefulness to shame, even after I've made this beautiful, flavor vegetable stock!