The first time I taught a cooking class, I struggled with timing. How long it would take to prep for the class (all that chopping, cleaning, organizing), how long it would actually take to prep the meal, and all that stuff. The guy I worked with during my first few classes said that he’s seen some people take a lot of time measuring ingredients out, following recipes exactly to a “T.” Oh gosh, I’m SO NOT LIKE THAT. I was running out of time my first few classes that I just started throwing ingredients together, and my students loved the dishes. WHEW! And it just works out in all my classes that I have some meal component that requires you to just taste what you’re stirring together, and adding as you see fit. That’s what cooking is all about – improvisation, creativity, feeling, and your own personal taste. It’s not rocket science!
Personally, I really don’t like it when cooking classes are all about cooking demos, and don’t involve the participants, because if you’re not doing it, what are the chances you’ll go home and make the dishes? I’ve always had a participatory component to my classes – my students have rolled their own summer rolls, made their own individual apple tarts, folded in their own flour mixture to make lemon-blueberry scones, and the list goes on. I’ve learned that by just “letting it roll” and not having total control in getting things “perfect,” this leads to a great, relaxed vibe in my classes. And in ALL my classes, I’ve gotten feedback that at least one student made the same thing I taught the week after. That’s really fulfilling to me and fuels my passion with vegan food!
My last class wasn’t a cooking class, really, but a plant-based meet-up. I was demonstrating the different flavors that you layer in Asian cuisine in this coleslaw, and I threw everything in a large mixing bowl, as I always do, without measuring. Salty (tamari), tart (rice vinegar), sweet (agave nectar and mirin), and you could add some spice if you wanted (thinly sliced jalapeno, which I didn’t add). I was trying to save time, so that my audience wouldn’t have to sit through me whipping out a measuring spoon. By the time I tasted it, it was perfect! This is the other recipe that my students have requested, and I finally got to measuring out my ingredients today. I’m making barbeque seitan sandwiches today for dinner, and I’m going to add this coleslaw in my sammies. This would also be perfect with my vegan BBQ pulled “pork” – aka green jackfruit, with some cornbread and baked beans on the side. Or you can just eat a big helping for lunch, topped with edamame or peanuts for protein. Nothing wrong with that! 🙂