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Old 04-27-2008, 02:05 AM   #1
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Teaching a Cooking Lesson

I've been asked to teach a cooking class in a few weeks! What I'll be doing has been pretty much been left open to me, and its a one time thing for some college students out here in Santa Cruz, California.

Any ideas on what I can do/show them? I was thinking of picking a simple recipe and going over the basics/mechanics of preparing ingredients and cooking them, cream of broccoli perhaps. Originally I wanted to talk about some of the scientific concepts behind what makes cooking work, but then again, that might be a little dry for some of them.

Has anyone done this type of thing before? Any thoughts?

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Old 04-27-2008, 02:22 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chausiubao View Post
I've been asked to teach a cooking class in a few weeks! What I'll be doing has been pretty much been left open to me, and its a one time thing for some college students out here in Santa Cruz, California.

Any ideas on what I can do/show them? I was thinking of picking a simple recipe and going over the basics/mechanics of preparing ingredients and cooking them, cream of broccoli perhaps. Originally I wanted to talk about some of the scientific concepts behind what makes cooking work, but then again, that might be a little dry for some of them.

Has anyone done this type of thing before? Any thoughts?
why not take a poll of students and see what they would like to cook. maybe they would even like concepts if it is something they chose.


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Old 04-27-2008, 02:35 AM   #3
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What age are the class? I teach four classes a week, from 10 - 14 year olds. The lesson is two hours along and each group normally has about six weeks. They usually do two items to take home for their families (usually a main course and a dessert). These vary from a basic bolognese sauce and muffins up to chicken korma and french apple tart.

I also feed in kitchen safety, tips on how to prepare items, why we do things (including some of the science of cooking), origins of food. We also clean up the kitchen.

On rereading your post - I see it is for college students. I would also find out what their cooking experioence is like. Make a meal together, and you can talk about the science and other things while you do it.

If you have any other questions, I can try and help.
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Old 04-27-2008, 06:39 AM   #4
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It might help if we knew in what context the lecture was to be given. It is probably a lecture in some course, I doubt English lit, and if you could tell us why they want a lecture on cooking it would help focus on an approach.

For example were it a science course a discussion of the technicalities of cooking would certainly be appropriate.

But if it is an art course, well, I would go with garnishes and food presentation perhaps.

You need to find out, at least I think, how your lecture is to fit into the curriculum.

Whatever the approach you have fifty minutes, if it is to be a regular period. And with introductions and such plan on fourty five. Then take away some minutes for questions.

That goes by very fast. So keep it simple. But I really think you have to know why they want a cooking lesson.

Then you can plan your approach.

Just my take on things.
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Old 04-27-2008, 06:48 AM   #5
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I've taken several cooking classes in the past few years and I really appreciate a well written recipe guide to what is being prepared for that class-----and if there are any variations I can make note of them----I also love having cooking tips thrown in as well and soak them up like a sponge......like one of my classes said that if it ends in "loin" it's on the lower fat side....I love stuff like that....I love cooking tips period.....
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:10 AM   #6
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Why not at your first lesson, have a suggestion box on your desk so everyone can offer suggestions as to what they would like to learn from the classes. You don't have to follow them but it will guide you better.
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:31 AM   #7
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I used to be the exec chef at a couple of college campuses. I did cafe cooking classes a couple of times a semester.

For the most part, these kids have never had a home ec class. Those classes have usually been cut out the budget back in the 70s and 80s. So, anything you give them will be good information.

Rather than spend time on a soup they'll probably never have need of preparing from scratch, I'd concentrate on easy and affordable meals. When they get out of college, they'll find themselves faced with the prospect of feeding themselves. Give them tools they can use.

Go over cooking techniques, like roasting, braising, searing, grilling, frying. Teach them basic glossary words. Go over basic culinary equipment, everything from wet measure to types of sauce pans.

Depending on the amount of time you have, go over types of cooking fats, egg sizes, seasonal fruits and vegetables, cuts of meat.

If you plan to do a cooking demonstration, stick with something they all like. Pasta. Sauté tomatoes, garlic, ground beef, fresh basil. Toss in some cooked pasta, olive oil, and top with grated cheese. Pass out samples.

You have an opportunity to discuss buying local, instead of purchasing food that had to travel halfway across the earth to get to the table. Don't forget to discuss food safety, too.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:51 AM   #8
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A point June alluded to, you need to know your audience. Used to teach many college courses and you have to realize whom you are addressing and why.

Once you have that down, you know where to go. The information you are trying to convey may be lost on the audience if they do not have the background to understand it.

If you are talking to folks who think nuking left over (is that one word?) pizza is haute cuisine, well, you might want to start with some very basics. Perhaps frying an egg or making a crepe or pancake would be great. Just a random example, am certainly not telling you what to do.

But if those guys and gals know how to put out a great coq au vin, well, you have a different audience.

Rules ones, two and three of giving a successful lecture are know whom your audience is, and what they want, or need, to know.

Once you have established the ground work the rest is easy. You know your subject and can put together a chat, and that is what a lecture should be looked upon as, with no problem.

Bottom line to me is you have to know whom you are talking to and why they want you to speak to them. After that, constructing the lecture becomes much simpler.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:53 AM   #9
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Gee, VeraBlue, I sure wished that you had been my home ec teacher........ours taught us zip in 1968 and I mean zip.........we spent most of the semester taking notes....I think we learned to make hot cocoa and a few cookies and one stupid dress...that was it
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Old 04-27-2008, 01:29 PM   #10
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OK, so you've got college students. Why not do something with pasta - for example - if you teach them how to make pesto (and also teach them how to properly place plastic wrap directly on it so it won't oxidize) and then you teach them a hot dish, chicken pesto, or shrimp pesto, and then a cold pasta with corkscrew noodles, or some other more interesting shape, and add fresh water-packed mozzarella, more fresh basil, a bit more olive oil, etc.

Then you can also teach them about other uses for pesto - grill a piece of fish and right before done top with pesto and place under broiler - while the grill is going slice up a baguette and grill that too. Grilled romaine is also good. You could do a whole class on grilling - that might be a bit hard since there will probably be no grill there

I'm just brainstorming here...
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