A cookery school makes sense to me now. Now, not in the past. I always believed that reading a recipe (most of the time from an online source) would be more than enough to make me able to replicate a dish, whether its culinary origin is. I had to go through a long series of disasters in the kitchen, especially in the “minefield” of cakes and desserts, before I could realize that having some little guidance here and there can only be helpful.
Having classes and learning from them is the fastest and probably more effective way to learn how to cook something you’re not familiar with. Sure, not all classes deliver the same amount of quality information and knowledge, being the effectiveness of the class strictly related to your basic knowledge and the effort a chef is willing to put into his teaching. Personally, I enjoyed all the culinary classes I attended so far (which infers that I’m either extremely culinary ignorant or an enthusiastic learner).
Let’s be clear, I can’t afford a culinary class every time I want. Luckily for my finances, this time I was invited by Old El Paso, a brand already established in the 1938, that went global only after 1969, when Mexican food became increasingly popular and that’s almost everywhere here in London. You can also find it somewhere in my blog since I like their products. I was invited to learn about their new type of tortillas (=eat all the food available at the Underground Cookery School).
Stand ‘N’ Stuff Tortillas. Have you already heard about them? Not the usual tortillas.
Tortillas that have been especially designed to ensure we get all the mouth-watering filling in one bite. Tortillas shaped like a bowl, Old El Paso explains. For me, tortillas shaped like little boats. Yes, boats to bite and devour.
So how do these tortillas boats look like? Where are the boats?! All in my stomach? Right. Truth is that I got so much involved into the “eat-your-own-food” part of the class that I forgot to take pics of my tortilla boat. Wait, the boats will star in my next blog post (or here, if you’re too curious to wait).
In the meantime let me tease your appetite describing the succulent filling of the tortillas we got to prepare during the class: mixed beans slow cooked with onions and spices, fresh lettuce, guacamole, pepper, aubergine and cauliflower stir fry topped with grated cheese, tangy salsa and a drizzle of cooling sour cream. Enough said? Let’s add an uncountable number of perfectly spiced sweet potato wedges. At the end of the class the “Stand ‘N’ Stuff” title was appropriate to describe both the tortillas and me as gluttonous participant of the cooking class.
Speaking about the class, do you want to know what I learned? How to cut an onion like a chef and how to make a flour-less melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake and, last but not least, guacamole. I mean perfect guacamole, not just the ordinary one. Not that I did not know how to make guacamole before this class (let’s be honest I am not a chef but a food blogger. I still know how to make guacamole, though!). Since the chef teacher was hilarious, entertaining and patient, the other participants were as hungry as me, if not more, I also enjoyed making something I’m already familiar with. The chef made us “team guacamole” working in prefect harmony while the team “meat” was busy with corpses of chickens to dissect, an activity that for obvious reasons I skipped.
Moral of the story: 1) if you fail at getting your hands on a perfect avocado, forget about fresh and delicious guacamole. You add onions, coriander, lime zest, lemon juice, tomatoes and salt but it’s still not “that” guacamole if the avocado is not perfectly ripen. 2) If you attend a cookery class (and pay for it) make sure to be clear about your dietary needs. If you cannot wrap a tortilla and eat it without spilling something like the 30-60% of the filling you may need to get on board these handy boat tortillas. It’s a tasty ride, I promise.