Learning to Cook

When I was small, Mom would give me the end of the pie dough to play with. I would roll it out, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it, and then fold it over, or roll it up, or use a cookie cutter to make my own pie. We always called this the “dirty cake” at home, which may reflect my sanitation standards at the time.

When my daughter was about two years old, I started the same routine with her and then did the same with my son. We considered it a form of play, and, let’s face it, learning while playing is the best possible pastime. We all grew up with a genuine love for cooking and baking, because of our early experiences in the kitchen.

I still believe play is a big part of learning.

A few years back Dave and I cruised through the Panama Canal. He’s an engineer, so the really big locks interested him greatly, but my favourite times were the signature cooking classes we took with one of the ship’s chefs and some of his guests. We learned to make ceviche and other simple but out-of-the-ordinary dishes, and had a lot of fun doing it. Even Dave, who usually focuses on eating rather than cooking, had fun and learned a good deal about the kitchen.

 Our recent wine tasting was a good example of that. People left with a better understanding about the wine-making process, as well as how to taste and choose good wine. The paired food was innovative and tasty, and just exotic enough to challenge our taste buds. What better way to spend an afternoon than learning something while you drink good wine and eat good food?

Some people are born teachers, and we have been blessed to have had several talented teachers at the Star. Part of our passion for food has always been sharing what we know with our customers. I’m pleased to say that Chef Joel is maintaining that tradition. His easy-going ways and his enthusiasm for sharing information have made his classes a real joy, as the Fine Details crew pictured left can tell you.

When I was a school trustee, we talked a lot about lifelong learning as though it was some sacrosanct, high-minded process attainable only through focussed effort on the part of the teacher and the student. I have trouble with that.

For me lifelong learning is trying something new, challenging myself every day and having fun doing it. Whether it’s learning how to manage a website or make a fancy dessert, the point is that we are interacting with other people and our environment and taking knowledge away from that process.

So let’s raise a glass to learning, laughter, and friends old and new. Cheers!