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A Gift of Experience

Two years ago my son and his wife gave me the gift of experience with a three hour class on glass blowing at Art Of Fire. I had so much fun that for Christmas in 2017 they gave me a gift certificate to The Kitchen Studio Of Frederick. They had so many neat and interesting classes to choose from but I was always a little late in signing up for the one I wanted to take. Then I saw it! Knife Skills, January 24th. I quickly signed up and talked my good friend Donna into taking the class with me. Apparently she has always had issues with knives, ending up with the scars to prove it. Finally the evening arrived. We were both pretty excited and maybe a little apprehensive.

What a wonderful time we both had. I think there were about 14 people, all with a different reason for taking the class. From newlyweds to best friends–all with the goal of improving our knife skills. Our instructor, owner Christine Van Bloem, greeted us with a big welcoming smile. She right away put everyone at ease. The long table was filled with all sorts of vegetables and apples, a good cutting board (did you know glass cutting boards are a BIG NO-NO?), a nice apron and two very sharp knives. After a brief “getting to know each other” session, she explained the fundamental of kitchen knives. Apparently you really only need two knives in your kitchen: a good 8″ chef’s knife and a flexible boning knife.

The whole idea of this class was to learn how to property use that 8″ chef’s knife by cutting up an assortment of different vegetables. While we were dicing and slicing, Christine kept us all entertained with her great sense of humor. With two assistants gathering up all the food we were chopping, they proceeded to make up a wonderful meal. We sliced apples for our dessert. Yummy! Then we chopped onions (the secret is to keep the hairy end (roots) of the onion intact). And finally, we learned how to make garlic paste and the best way to chop fresh basil so it doesn’t turn black or get smooshed. This was for the brochette that was being prepared for us all. But best of all was the delicious chicken noodle soup that all of our vegetables went into. However, wait! What about the chicken for the soup? Yup, you guessed right. We all got to cut up a whole fresh chicken the correct way. I must say Donna and I did pretty good at this and didn’t cut anything but the chicken.

The best thing that I took away from this class was the proper way to hold a knife while preparing different things—who knew you don’t hold your index finger out?  And, instead of an up and down chop-chop-chop, you need to have a rocking motion. Practice makes perfect and I think I need more practice, but it was amazing not to be chasing the food around the cutting board.

The Kitchen Studio of Frederick will be seeing me again. I’m thinking the class on Cast Iron Cooking will be my next one. Who wants to join me? They also offer private classes for a minimum of 10 people. What a fantastic idea for a bachelor/bachelorette party, team building for a company or, best yet, a 60th birthday party for someone with a birthday coming up (just saying). They even do classes for children. Maybe next winter I will take my grandchildren up to make gingerbread houses.

by Stephanie Fleming, Behnke’s Vice President

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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