Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cutting those ties with my new knife skills

It's probably a little early in the month to write about cutting ties, but I just completed the Knife Skills class at Hill's Kitchen in DC's Capitol Hill and figure it's only too appropriate. Cutting, chopping, dicing, slicing area all words you'll see in any given recipe. If you cook, there's rarely any getting around working with knives (well, unless you get any of the pre-cut items from Trader Joe's like I've done -- shhhhh...) so good knife skills are really important.

One of my biggest regrets is not taking a class from Culinary Communion in Seattle, and I've vowed that while I'm traveling around so much, I would do what I can to learn about food and cooking. I've been blessed to learn about some of the regional specialties from the different cities but sometimes, you've just got to learn the basics. Plus, living in a hotel 3 weeks out of the month, I get the itch to work in a kitchen every once in a while. Luckily, I was able to score a spot at Hill's Kitchen, a gourmet's paradise both for products and education. I say luckily because every time I've tried to sign up for their Basic Knife Skills class during my limited times in DC, they've been full. (LESSON: plan far in advance, or just get on the watilst and pray.)

Prayer was answered. $40 and 2 hours later, I learned about the different knives and their functions, how to hold a knife, and the differences between slicing and chopping. Most importantly, I learned good posture and hand/finger control to ensure I don't cut myself. Embarrassingly, I also learned that many of the issues from my own kitchen have to do with the dullness of my knives, the way I store my special chef's knife (unprotected in a drawer with other objects) and that I just need to practice, practice and practice. So perhaps I'll be cutting my ties to the prechopped and prepackaged stuff from Trader Joe's and start prepping and cooking from scratch some more next time I'm home.

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