"Valentines in Venice"

This was the theme of the cooking class that my husband and I attended this evening. We received a gift certificate for the class as a Christmas gift. With a title like "Valentines in Venice", one would expect there to be some attempt at making the atmosphere somewhat romantic, even if it is supposed to be a class.

Well, to make a long story short, we busted our asses preparing complicated dishes under harsh fluorescent lighting with little instruction and nothing but water to drink...not a drop of wine in sight...not even a glass with the meal. No coffee was offered with dessert, which included chocolate biscotti. And we left hungry.

However, I hate to only have negative things to say about a gift that someone put a lot of thought into purchasing for us. I did learn about how to "degorge" eggplant: Slice the eggplant into 1/2" slices and heavily salt both sides. Place slices in a single layer on a towel in a baking pan and put another towel on top. Lay another pan on top of that and place a couple bricks on top and let press for an hour or so. This removes some of the moisture and bitterness from the eggplant in preparation for making various eggplant dishes. KEY NOTE: rinse salt off eggplant after pressing. This little bit of information was not shared with us until we completed our dish, which turned out way too salty. So that just added to the experience.

mark, Feb 13 2006 11:27AM

should you really be drinking wine?

i've never taken a cooking class. it's good to know that the joint is byob. and make your own romance. think of the fun it could be making other participants uncomfortable by insisting on feeding your spouse.

Ann, Feb 13 2006 4:47PM

Maybe you're right, Mark. We should have showed up wearing really provocative clothing and speaking in really bad fake Italian accents.

sandie, Feb 13 2006 10:51PM

Wow. Sounds like the experience was miles away from the romantic Italian cooking Giada DeLaurentis does on the Food Network. She oohs and ahs as she practically makes out with the food. In fact an article in Harper's magazine (Oct 05, I think) compared techniques used while filming her show to a porn movie.

Ann, Feb 14 2006 6:29PM

The woman that led this class resembled Giada DeLaurentis in no way whatsoever. I wouldn't want to see this woman make out with anyone or anything.

Shari, Feb 15 2006 5:34PM

I always love your posts. Your first two paragraphs made me laugh. I can picture the two of you, waiting for someone to break out the wine.

Ann, Feb 15 2006 7:14PM

Thanks, Shari! It was not my idea of a romantic meal...not that I really expected it to be. But I was at least hoping for some cheesy attempt at making it that way, just for laughs.