Cook-In #2: Learning From each Other

During the cook-in we bagged pulled turkey meat so everyone could take some home for other meals.

During the cook-in we bagged pulled turkey meat so everyone could take some home for other meals.

Fifteen participants joined us for our second Cook-In. We spent the evening assembling a meal together, boxing food to take home, sitting down to enjoy the meal together and sharing ideas. The focal point of the meal was to cook turkeys but when it came to sharing ideas everyone had lots of things to say.

Planning, Preparing and Sharing are the cornerstone of the Family Meals Project and this cook-In allowed for lots of sharing. It was both fun and enlightening to take part in the discussions.

I’ve been to cooking classes where we watched the presenter and asked a few questions. This was a totally different experience for me because it became an evening where we all shared ideas from food safety to preserving dinners. Here are a few ideas they shared:

  • Hydrogen peroxide makes a good cleaner for the counter-tops and sink and you don’t have to smell chlorine bleach.
  • When you cook a turkey, it will stay nice and moist if you place it in a cooking bag. Snip the wingtips off plus the end of the neck, and the tail so it won’t poke a hole in the bag while cooking
  • A 15 lb turkey will cook faster and evenly when cooked in a bag. At 350° it only takes about three hours. You can tell when it is done when the legs start falling off. (Note, I still use a meat thermometer)
  • Red potatoes work best for mashed potatoes if they are parboiled for 10 minutes, the water is changed and then reheated until done. (less starch)
  • When you buy a pre-washed salad mix you still should rinse it again; why not just buy the whole head and wash it yourself and save the money?
  • When it came time to make the stuffed apples we found that some of the apples had worms in them. So, one of the participants took over, cut the apples into small pieces, mixed in some granola, butter and the brown sugar. It baked in a shallow baking dish until the apples softened. I thought this improvised apple crisp was far more moist than the stuffed apples we made in another class.
Sherry Cline graciously showed us how to cook turkeys, gravy and dressing,. No recipes were needed for this.

Sherry Cline graciously showed us how to cook turkeys, gravy and dressing,. No recipes were needed for this.

I found it amazing how much knowledge people have about cooking and still want to follow a recipe. Sherry Cline, our presenter, put a little of this and that into the turkey drippings and made a delicious gravy. Ardis, my wife, used non-dairy creamer for the first time to make scalloped corn. It took a little longer to cook than normal but it still was a delicious vegetable to have for the dinner. It was evident that recipes were not needed for this cook-In but when baking with flour and leavening ; follow your recipe.

turkry ci 05Every participant scurried around after dinner and boxed up their food to take home. Then they helped assemble more meals to put in the church freezer for emergencies. Plus many stayed to clean up.

The truly amazing thing is that entire event took just 85 minutes while most cooking classes run 120 minutes or more. That was because we followed someone’s suggestion from the last cooking: if the food takes a long time to cook you should cook it ahead of time. Then during the cook-in we have time to share ideas about other ways to cook the meal.

There’s a vast wealth of knowledge each individual can bring to the table. We just need to design the Cook-In to allow for sharing of ideas. Thank you for an eventful evening.

Posted by DonR  10/17/14

Oh, ,I did not give you the recipes; tune in tomorrow.