Checking my list before guests arrive…
In the spirit of giving, mixed with sheer bravery; I tried my hand at “teaching” this past weekend… I use the term loosely though, since it turned out to be more of an informative dinner party rather than an actual class. But we sure did have fun! And the food (as usual) was delicious.
I love sharing my knowledge and skills with others. Especially when it comes to something I’m passionate about, like food or music. So this past Saturday, I decided to have an afternoon of cooking and learning with a few people who’s opinion I highly value. So I invited a few of my friends to join me, as I navigated my way through my very first group debut of how I do what I do with food. Sure things were cooked, tips shared, techniques discussed, questions asked and answered. Recipes were even handed out, and notes taken. But a class, this was not. Well, not exactly. It was something else, something different, something more. An experiment which led to an awesome learning experience, and I’m ok with that because sometimes the only way to test the waters in to jump in.
Fresh herbs, wine, recipe cards, sale & a good time!
As it turns out though, there is something to be said about teaching people to do what comes so naturally to me. Structure, details, and timing are key. All of which I knew going in theoretically, but in actuality, all of these things can slip past if one is not mindful of them in the moment. Luckily, I managed to stay somewhat within my allotted time frame. The class only went over by about 30 minutes. Partly due to some intermittent tangential, social chatting while I was prepping. Just small talk… but you get a group of folks together with great energy, food and wine in the room, and they’re gonna talk right??
Food as we all know, is a very social thing. I, as it turns out, am a very social person. No coincidence there. However I had to get my teaching mojo going and remind myself that people are not just “here to eat, (and chat) they are here to cook!”, or at least learn how to. And it was my job (for that afternoon), to teach them how to! Had I bitten off more than I could chew??? According to my friends, not exactly. Each one said I managed pretty well. And that meant a lot since I hand picked each one strategically, for their honesty and ability to critique without blinking. Yes, they are my friends but these particular lot, are tough cookies – so to speak.
A corporate lawyer, a restauranteur, a design and advertising exec, and a television writer/journalist… all of whom live, work and thrive in New York City. There’s definitely a reason why they say, “if you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere”. This town is not for the feint of heart. You have to be brave, have tenacity, chutzpah, and be able to speak your mind and express yourself, especially in their chosen fields. I say all that to say, that the opinions and criticism of these few, means a LOT.
Mandarin, Manchego, Fennel & Mixed Green Salad & Me!
They challenged me, gave me (brutally) honest opinions, new ideas and great suggestions, all of which was highly impactful and beneficial. But more than anything, it was the conversations I had with myself afterwards that meant the most to me. The thoughts I carried home with me that evening as I drove home… mind reeling and already thinking of how to plan ahead. To be better. I don’t ever expect it to ever be perfect, as I think there is always room for improvement. Overall, I was happy… and proud. I jumped in, and my ability was better than I imagined.
Turns out, you learn a lot by teaching others. You can also gain a new perspective from honest, constructive criticism too. The former, although seemingly daunting at first, turned out to be rather pleasant. And the latter? Well, that was actually my favorite part of the whole experience. Go figure. More than anything, I had a learned something invaluable, that will ultimately help me to shape the future of The Foodie Chronicles brand.
Herb Butter Salmon, Sauteed Cauliflower & Collard Greens, Herb Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Lastly, If you’re reading this: thank you for being a part of my journey. I never expected to be here. To be expressing myself in this way, or to even be helping so many people. I am grateful, happy and humbled to be doing so, and I will continue to give you my best with the hopes that you will continue to join me as I share my love affair with all things delicious. Thank you fellow foodies, for inspiring me and helping me see the possibilities.
Hot spiced Cider, Cranberry Relish, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Fruit & cheese Plates
For the Cranberry Relish and Hot Spiced Cider recipes, please check out The Foodie Chronicles Archives, from November 2012. Happy Thanksgiving!