My husband was a great cook when I met him. Sadly – 10 years later, 3 kids and the chaos of life (which generally involves me cooking) he seems to have lost the skill, which puts us into that age old whirlpool of ‘it’s easier to just do it myself than run through the step by step instructions’.
On Sunday, I took him along to a cooking class at Belconnen Fresh Food Markets entitled ‘Cooking for Blokes’. I had mixed expectations I guess and my husband was pretty apprehensive. We arrived at the Market Kitchen, behind the markets near the mushroom playground and were welcomed by ‘Lyonsy’, a tall bloke who has been teaching cooking for the last 8 years. As he went around the room, people advised a variety of reasons for their visit, from wanting to impress a new friend, to ‘wanting to meet blokes’ and the surprising (to me) addition of a man who, after 65 years of marriage, found himself alone and living on lean cuisines.
We were given recipes for four dishes:
- Sweet Chilli Chicken
- Potato Salad
- Noodle Salad
- BBQ lamb steaks with red onion
None were tough to make, but together you could produce a nice meal. Meat recipes were designed with a BBQ in mind (although OH&S meant we cooked on a hob).
I am pretty used to blokes being pretty uncomfortable around new fellas, unless there is a central theme of interest like sport or music etc. Sorry, I know that’s clichéd, but from my experience mostly true – hands in pockets, awkward shifting of feet etc. And yet, for this – people got in and worked pretty well together. The group of 12 were split into four and given two dishes each to prepare with a vision of coming together in an hour to share the meal. I must confess at this point I was thinking ‘he’s dreaming’- organised chaos seems a gentle reference. But come together it did. Potatoes went into the oven to roast (I had never thought to roast potatoes for a salad, but a hot tip of the day ‘if they’re roasted it’s harder to stuff them up’ will be used in future), marinades were prepared and almonds roasted (a slow process taken on by my exceedingly patient husband).
The experience of the group ranged from ‘not entirely sure what a chicken thigh looks like’ through to reasonably capable cooks seeking something different to do on a Sunday morning.
The instructor himself, ‘Lyonsy’, found himself taking on cooking after being given the choice by his wife whether to bath the kids of cook dinner. Dinner won out as he could have a beer and watch the TV. His style was relaxed but knowledgeable and the participants responded.
My only criticism would be in preparation. There were a few shouts of ‘does anyone have a wooden spoon/measuring cup etc’ and although resolved quickly, increased preparation would smooth the cooking journey. The Market Kitchen is in the process of moving some of its classes to hands-on instead of demonstration so I guess some early headaches are to be expected.
My husband came away having enjoyed the experience and we both really liked the ‘vibe’ of the group.
Overall, it was a pretty nice way to spend a morning and lunch was delicious!
The Market Kitchen offer a variety of cooking classes covering a range of cuisines including French Patisserie, Sausage making and Cupcake decorating for kids. Details can be found here.