Saturday, November 17, 2012

1/2 c Homo Milk.

People in St John's eat crappy food. It's a generalization, but it's a fairly accurate one. All of the supermarkets have teeny tiny dismal organic food and produce sections, and endless aisles of packaged, processed, diabetes/heart attack/obesity inducing foods.

On Wednesday, Lisa was asked to fill in teaching a cooking class at the Dominion (the big supermarket chain here). They have a community cooking program, and hold free classes. She did it because it was 100 bucks for two hours of work, and because she likes to cook. I was instructed to attend, and because I don't want to sleep on the couch, or in the furnace room with Marvin, I did.

I like to cook quite a bit, and I like to talk about food even more, so I ended up jumping in and helping teach.

We were given three recipes to create, none of which were vegan or gluten free. These dishes pass for Newfoundland health food.

1. Yam slices marinated in dressing and stacked with fried onions, flavoured cream cheese and toasted pecans
This isn't our version, but it looks the same. A chicken lasagna heart attack...mmmm...
But apparently it's diabetes-friendly!

2. Chicken lasagna noodle roll-up thingies with parmesan cheese sauce

3. Poached pears with Cool-Whip, nuts and graham cracker crumbs. Um. Edible oil products...I guess that's vegan?

The class was for Diabetes Awareness Week, and was sponsored by Kraft (The irony of this was not lost on us).

Lisa and I did our best work, talked about low glycemic natural sweeteners, and stevia and coconut oil and cinnamon and the importance of eating organic. Most old people are great students. They were there to socialize, but they were also there to learn, and they all hmmmed and nodded and diligently took notes.

All but one... 

Her name was Veronica, and she was at least eighty five. She had been dragged there by her daughter, was not there to learn to cook, and told me she was too forgetful to bother trying to absorb the health tips we were sharing.

She was there to make us listen to her, and to complain about the food. She cheerfully ignored my attempts to engage her with the cooking class, said she hated cooking, and prattled on about her life growing up on a potato farm (in a dialect that only remotedly resembled English).

Veronica told me her mother always cooked the food for her growing up, and then she had a daughter as soon as she was married and got her mother to teach her daughter to cook so she didn't ever have to. And she didn't intend to ever have to.

When it came time to eat the food, she couldn't find her fork, which was sitting beside her plate, and her daughter didn't seem likely to help her, as she was preoccupied with her own food.

So I sat down beside her, and handed her the fork, and waited while she simultaneously talked and toothlessly gummed her food.

While eating the yams, she picked out every single nut with a look of disgust on her face and put them in her napkin. She then turned to me and said,

"I dunno wot dem herd tings arr me love, but dem is not cooked troo"

And made a move to throw a pecan half at Lisa, who was still standing at the front of the room. Her daughter caught her and glared, and Veronica meekly lowered her arm, whispering to me,

"I better watch meself. Dat dotter of mine dere is in corrections, me love, and she might put her old maam away if I don't behave".

Veronica then proceeded to carefully pick around the green lasagna noodle in the rolls, and stage-whispered to me that she'd never seen chicken rolled up in potato skins, and didn't we know that you shouldn't use the green potatoes anyways. They were "tough as anyting" and "unfit to eat".

Her daughter tried to convince her that the green stuff was pasta, but Veronica wasn't buying it.

She also had complaints about the flavour of the chicken, the "little chewy red bits" (red pepper), the "spider's legs" in her poached pear (finely chopped rosemary).

At the end of the meal, Lisa asked everyone for feedback. Veronica plastered a big fake grin on her face, and chimed in enthusiastically and untruthfully,

"The best part was all of it! Twas all good!"

Old Newfoundlanders are good liars.

After the class was over, the coordinator asked if we would be into hosting more cooking classes, of the vegan and gluten free variety....Heck yes!!! And we get to pick the recipes we make. So we will go, make dinner, talk about making dinner, eat dinner, leave and get paid a bunch of money.
HOMO MILK! She gets a silver medal in lasagna roll up thingies!

 It looks as though the two of us have accidentally embarked on a side career as bona-fide cooking experts. Next project will be our youtube cooking channel (program name to be determined).

I think I'll ask Veronica if she would agree to a guest spot on our show.

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