Day 9: Off the Couch and Into the Kitchen

Today we had a special guest: Martha Stafford, founder of the Charlottesville Cooking School. She first gave a short talk on the importance of cooking your own meals whenever you can and her recent work with city school lunches. She referenced a great article, Michael Pollan’s “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch” in which Pollan explores why we love to watch cooking shows but are substantially less excited about actually cooking a meal. With Martha’s help, we attempted to remedy that disconnect today.

The class gets hands-on and makes compound butter.

Students were give a tablespoon of butter, two types of good salt, parsley, dill, thyme, and lemon zest. Everyone first tasted each ingredient on its own and Martha explained that this is important to help develop your palette and create “taste memory”. Students were then given free reign to use their favorite herb out of the three choices and blend it into a compound butter, tasting and smelling it along the way until it tasted just right.

Martha Stafford demonstrates how to properly sauté kale.

After the hands-on activity, everyone headed to the kitchen for a cooking demonstration. Martha sautéed kale and spring onions harvested from the Kitchen Garden early this morning. Talk about local food! These veggies were grown just steps away. Everything was delicious and we really enjoyed having Martha here.

Tomorrow’s the last day of Block A! Can you believe how fast these 10 days have gone by?

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