Thursday, July 12, 2007

Learning to Cut

I acquired a skill last night that just may change my life. I learned to properly hold a chef’s knife. It may not sound like an Earth shaking experience, but as a person who has only once ever had to get stitches, and that for a particularly fierce battle with a particularly hard bagel, it is a giant step forward in my culinary existence. Yesterday evening I took my first cooking class, “Cooking Basics/Knife Skills” at Chez Cherie.

As lovers of good food, the members of our family can cook. Growing up, cooking was something like a competitive sport with Father of Food and Son of Food striving for more interesting and better dishes with little Daughter of Food trying to reach over their shoulders for scraps of food and knowledge. Where was Mom of Food at the time? Making the basics, French toast and grilled cheese, and as she does even today, acting as sous chef to Father of Food. The entire "of Food" Family would be proud of me today. I can slice an onion into the smallest of bits without my hands smelling afterward and easily create a chiffinade from fresh basil. Before yesterday I did not even know what a chiffinade was (a cut that looks like tiny ribbons, to save you the Google search); now I do and for that, I thank Cherie.

Cherie Mercer Twohy is the force behind Chez Cherie. She teaches her courses with several skilled assistants. In this course, she lectured for a bit then the students were split into several smaller groups to practice what she preached. I was in a group with Chris who helped me understand knife basics and hand positioning. We sliced and chopped veggies which were whisked away into a developing stir-fry that we ate as a reward for our work. It was all topped off with a dessert that Cherie made for us, a delicious tequila lime pie complete with much talk of lime zest. I came away from the night with a new knife, a sharpener, and confidence in my slice.

Now, to make your family proud, I will give you one tip of the many Cherie gave this night. After chopping an onion, rinse your hands with water and then rub them on something made of Stainless Steel. The steel makes a chemical reaction with the onion juice, eliminating the smell. This works for garlic and shrimp, too. Learn more for yourself. Chez Cherie is located at 1401 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, CA 91011.

Take a look at the Family of Food Map link on the Sidebar. We will try and map all of the places we talk about in the blog to make it easy for you to get the good food you’ve been looking for.

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