For a town that loves to eat, I am pretty sure no one knows how to cook in Philly. At least, that is my impression after discovering how many cooking classes are offered around the city these days. From the Walnut Restaurant School to Cook Philadelphia to the Wine School, there is at least four cooking classes going on every freaking week. You can get taught by anyone from a celebrity chef to a bestselling cookbook author.
Along with all these classes, there is the daily pandemonium of the frozen food aisle at Trader Joes. It’s just damn sad, but I am pretty sure the only folks cooking with confidence in this city are working in restaurants. I am not one to complain, since I often get free meals (being an internationally famous food writer offers such privileges), but at least I can cook a few standards when the need arises. However, I got pulled into the Great Philadelphia Cooking Hysteria this week, and attended a cooking class at my dearest Wine School.
This week’s class was all about the Holiday dinner. The wine was flowing and the portions were surprisingly large. The highlights of the evening was shortribs braised in imperial stout, which reminded me of the most tasty brontosaurus I have ever had. (I kid: the portion was HUGE. I have no way of knowing what a dinosaur would taste like. Maybe like turtle? )
Also on the menu was “Toasted Italian Chestnuts and Pearl Onion Confit” which was a knock-out. Both dishes were paired with Cannonau, an ancient clone of Grenache from Sardinia and a Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia. Very nicely done. Let’s hope everyone starts cooking like this. Dinner parties won’t feel like Russian Roulette anymore.