Cooking is one of my favourite pastimes. When I was younger I had a long list of career goals. I wanted to be a teacher, an artist, a writer, a scientist, an astronaut and a chef. As I grew up, my desires became more refined (as time often does). I released any desire to go into space when I realised that I would be inside an enclosed space for long periods of time. Now I only want to invest in a telescope so I can view space from the safety of the ground. I released any desire to become a scientist when I realized that any attraction I had to the sciences was completely unrequited. I also realised that though I enjoy painting and cooking, I didn’t want careers in either of them. That left me with teaching and writing, which continue to be enduring passions.
But I love cooking, and hanging out with friends while cooking is a double whammy of goodness.
This weekend I participated in a Zoom cooking class with some of my friends from high school. It was led by soon-to-be world-renowned Chef Samantha George. She has a fabulous course on AirBnB where she teaches you the perfect technique for making Johnny Cakes and “Pick Up” Saltfish. In our small class were friends in Canada, USA, Barbados, Jamaica, and me in Brazil. I was so comforted to be with these women and sharing one of my passions with them.
The class was fun and relaxing and I will always appreciate how accommodating Sammy is as a foodie and teacher. I didn’t have a chance to buy salted cod so I got shrimp instead. She didn’t even bat an eye at that and altered my recipe to shrimp ceviche. I balked at that but she encouraged me to saute my shrimp in brown butter instead letting vinegar do the cooking. It was delicious and I was eating my “pick up” shrimp long before my Johnny cakes were ready.
She gave us a quick history lesson on why Fried Dumplings are called Johnny Cakes and about the invention of quick breads. She made sure that each of us got individual attention and we all ended up with dishes that we were proud of.
After 2 hours of cooking, laughter and catching up with each other, we ended our class and I found myself filled to the brim with food, fellowship and love for these women.
However, if you’re looking for a fun group night with friends who you can’t physically get together with, I would strongly encourage setting up an online cooking class. And if you and your friends need the guidance of a knowledgeable chef then you can reach out to Chef Sam to host a class for you.
I have to stay in Brazil for a little longer, at least until the borders open up for travellers from Brazil, due to the pandemic. Getting the extension to stay longer was not a giant headache, so I have another 90 days to expectantly wait and see where God will send me next.