Evening Classes in Food

by Jan

This is a tongue-in-cheek piece on food education.

Food and General Knowledge:

A gastronomer will answer your questions to issues which may confuse you – here are some examples:

  • A diner was offered “chips with that” when served dinner no matter what the meal consisted of.
  • Is cooking really necessary?
  • Deep-fried Mars bars – are they a joke, or a genuine addition to Scottish cuisine?
  • Why are kebabs are better at 3am?
  • Ironic food eg. prawn cocktail enables cool people and hipsters to eat retro.
  • Why do expensive restaurants serve peasant food?
  • A complaint that the diet industry slims down the wallet only.
  • Superfoods – aren’t they just health foods?
  • Why we should queue for pink cupcakes and multi-coloured macarons?
  • Do restaurant reviewers live in a bubble? And are they necessary?
  • Supermarkets ravage towns with too much choice.
  • Packaging, air miles, carbon foot print – they don’t want to be the entire world’s conscience.
  • Microwaved convenience food – what’s wrong with it?
  • Does Australia have a cuisine? What does it consist of?

Food and culinary terminology:
Are you uncomfortable with “poncy” food terms? Is polenta a by-product of an Italian building material? A round-table discussion led by a TAFE cookery teacher to help people feel comfortable reading menus, and translate tricky words and products, eg. assiette, du jour, melange, timbale, jus, ceviche, drizzle, sommelier, truffle oil.

Food of the 50s & 60s:
The CWA will give a refresher talk and some recipes eg. savs and pavs, party pies, French onion dip, cocktail onions, meat and 3 veg. This is a winner for baby boomers.

Vegetable Matters:
This is a 2-part demonstration: one from a Chinese chef, and one from an Italian chef. eg. kale, eggplants, zucchini, bok choy. What are superfoods? What are wild foods? What is forgaging? What is the difference between sundried and sun-blushed tomatoes? Farmers’ Markets – are they only for the rich? This class will increase the confidence of those Australians who have not eaten out much. This is a good class to do following food of the 50s & 60s.

Budgeting: home cooking versus take away food versus restaurant food:
A very simple tutorial will be given by an accountant, using a calculator. Bring your mobile phone.

How to read food packaging:
Pictures and instructions on food packaging are confusing. A lesson and translation will be given by an expert from a well-reputed consumer organisation.

Restaurant Reservations:
Why they are necessary?  Do they limit your freedom?
How to make reservations, plus follow-up.

Eating in a Restaurant:
A maitre d’ from a top restaurant will co-ordinate tutorials. A 2-part course which deals with important topics, such as:

  • Reading the menu and explaining food terminology (please see course above).
  • Knowing what you are eating – demonstrations from a chef, a home gardener, a fishmonger, and a butcher.
  • Menu pricing,  ie. does the figure 25 without the $ sign mean dollars or cents?
  • Wines, glasses and wine matching – a demonstration from a sommelier.
  • Napkins – are they different from serviettes, tissues and handkerchiefs?
  • Learning about items on the table eg. boards, glasses, condiments – demonstration about usage from a head waiter.
  • Cutlery –what are fish knives? Parfait spoons? Butter knives? Jam spoons?
  • Are table manners harmful to your wellbeing? eg. where to put your elbows, mobile phone usage, conversation – role play and simulation with some experts in manners.
  • Occasional queries eg. seating density, noise levels, loud music.
  • Complaints – are they different from mood swings? Do all waiters have personality disorders? How to assert yourself when the waiter refuses to understand your point of view. How to get over simple explanations.  Relaxation exercises. A panel will answer questions, and a counsellor will be available.
  • Living with tipping – Why? What is appropriate? Getting over it. A tutor and a counsellor will answer queries.

Food on Television:

  • The differences between home cooking and TV cooking. A talk will be given by a qualified chef.
  • Is Masterchef far too serious? Criteria useful to critiquing your parent’s cooking. A panel discussion with a TV reviewer, some non-celebrity chefs, parents who can cook, and a food reviewer.
  • Is My Kitchen Rules the model for a contemporary dinner party? A panel discussion, as above.
  • Celebrity chefs – is bullying more fun when Gordon Ramsay does it? A panel discussion with a TV reviewer, psychotherapist, ethicist, and a celebrity chef.
  • Nigella has ‘no time’- so how does she manage her TV shows?
  • How to do a cooking dem on a canoe during a storm.