Saturday, January 5, 2008

Cuts Like a Knife

A few years ago, pre-kids, I started taking cooking classes. With a few girlfriends at my work, we would meet in the home ec room of our local high school, drink some wine and cook up something tasty. It was loads of fun- and introduced me to the fun of cooking. Prior to these classes, I had never used a kitchenaid mixer, wrapped fish in parchment paper, knew what tapenade was, made an apple tatin or tasted quinoa. Matt loved my new interest- not only did he get to benefit by tasting my new hobby, it provided him an easy outlet for gift giving.

Matt is an awesome gift giver. He agonizes over it- usually waits until the last minute, and is always afraid I'm going to hate it. I never do. What I love most about his gift giving strategy- is that he usually listens to some offhand remark I'll make in July, and then remember it for a present in December. All a girl wants is to know she's being listened to. One year, he blew our entire Christmas budget on a painting- it was a painting I used to "visit" in the window of a Laguna Beach gallery, and it brought a little California sunshine to a New York city winter. 12 years ago, he gave me my engagement ring- on Christmas morning, at my folks' house. I still drink my morning coffee out of a purple coffee mug he bought me in college 15 years ago. So, he's set the bar pretty high, and this year was no exception.

We've made new friends in Texas, and their family is a bunch of professional chefs. Matt and I are obsessed with Top Chef, and all things chef-related, so we're constantly quizzing them about what it's like to grow up running a restaurant. I've been begging them to teach me the proper way to cut an onion.

Fast forward to this Christmas, and my hubby proudly bestowed me with a knife skills class at a local cooking school and 2 awesome Japanese Shun knives. Today, the family dropped me off at "school" and I finally learned the proper way to cut an onion, dice a tomato, use a mandoline, make oblique cuts on a carrot and fan strawberries. I was in heaven, and better yet- I only needed one bandaid. Matt's not touching these babies until our student loans are paid off.

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