I’m fortunate enough to live really close to a really nice grocery store. I actually remember when my dad first moved back to Pittsburgh and began shopping at the Market District in Robinson. “You should see this place! They have house made ice cream and all this fancy bread and cheese and everything you can imagine.” Okay, that might not be what he said… but I distinctively remember house made ice cream (well, it’s gelato, but whatever).
My love of baking was apparent early in my life. My mother was never a baker, not having the patience to measure things out – she was more “throw things together and ultimately it’s delicious”. She liked the art of cooking, not the science of baking. I latched on to the opposite until a couple years ago when I finally became confident enough in the kitchen to begin cooking/baking from recipes I created myself.
I really started cooking between my sophomore and junior years of college. I had went vegetarian my last few months in Asia (I had decided that the carbon footprint from eating meat was too big and that I had tried every type of meat there was to try) so when I came home, vegetarian options in Morgantown, West Virginia were limited. Thus, I began cooking and never really stopped.
Back to Market District: They have a cooking school and have classes just about every day. I took a cake decorating class last spring and have been wanting to take another class but hadn’t had a chance. The Farm to Table cooking class fell on a weekend that I was actually home and was right up my alley.
The class was led by Chef Alex and assisted by Chef Angela. The class began with a short talk on why we should focus on eating local (within 20 miles of where we live) and why genetically modified food is bad.
- Ever noticed the difference between organic baby carrots and conventional (I sound like Whole Foods signage) carrots? Non-organic food is gas-ripened and has added hormones and pesticides which effect the taste and the nutrient levels.
- Eating fermented foods and taking a probiotic is so necessary these days because of all the extra antibiotics we consume everyday from produce and meat that has been genetically modified. (My doctor actually has me on a prescribed probiotic every day and I eat Greek yogurt like it’s going out of style.) Our bodies are building up resistances to antibiotics because of what we eat.
- Farm fresh eggs are best. (I had farm fresh eggs every morning in Nicaragua and they were AMAZING.) Eggs on the shelf at the grocery store were likely laid 6-9 months ago!
- Fast food and chain restaurants use genetically modified foods so besides being terrible taste wise, they are terrible quality wise, too. (I think the seafood at Red Lobster comes from China? Ew.)
Chef Alex put together an insanely delicious menu based on what was local and in season. Here is what we cooked (and ate!):
Fresh Fig, Feta and Mint Salad
The chocolate balsamic was made by melting a dark chocolate bar from Sarris Candies into balsamic dressing.
Local Goat Tacos with Blush Radish Slaw & Whipped Avocado Spread
Local Summer Vegetable Tian
Local Roasted Stuffed Tomatos with Local Lamb
Local Honey Vanilla Mint Ice Cream in an Easy Butter Pie Crust with Local Fathead’s Bumbleberry Topping
Disclaimer: I was invited to take this class for free but was not monetarily compensated in any way to attend or write this post. All opinions are my own.
Chat with me:
How do you feel about farm to table or genetically modified food? Do you eat at fast food/chain restaurants? Have you ever taken a cooking class?