A patient was telling me that she was thinking about taking some cooking classes (she lives alone and really doesn’t like to cook very much), and I mentioned that I’d just signed up for a few classes through PCC Natural Markets. “I’m surprised that YOU would be taking cooking classes,” she said.

I explained that I’ve never been terribly confident about sautéing meats, that while I do a mean roast chicken and always end up with perfectly done beef and pork roasts (sometimes to my amazement), I don’t know a lot about brining, and that while I love making my own broth from beef bones or chicken carcasses, I’ve never made vegetable broth and the idea of layering flavors in my broths is very enticing to me.

I’m largely a self-taught cook, and while I feel generally confident in the kitchen (a fact that I partially ascribe to having gone through pastry school, and baking is more exact than cooking), I know enough to know that there’s much I still don’t know. Lots of people who have a solid skill set in a certain area (dancers, musicians) still take classes to keep evolving. As a dietitian, I have to earn a certain number of continuing education credits each year to keep current in my profession. To me, cooking classes are an extension of that. I always learn things I didn’t know, learn new ways of thinking about things I do know, and relearn things that I once knew but had forgotten!

Plus, when you enjoy something you never want to stop learning about it! I also find cooking classes inspiring. It’s easy to get in a cooking rut, especially when time is in short supply. While I’ve been loving watching old episodes of The French Chef lately (production values sure have changed, but Julia Child’s ways in the kitchen stand the test of time), being in a live class surrounded by other like-minded people and a chef who conveys a true love of food is a better way to get the creative culinary juices flowing.

Besides, who wouldn’t want to be in a class that’s making Shakshuka? This catalog had me at “Hello”!