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Focaccia Class at Brooklyn Kitchen Labs

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Have you ever gotten someone a birthday present that you soon realize they will hate?  That happened to me recently for my hubby’s birthday.  I was trying to be creative and so I got him'a cooking class.  Apparently, I had been trying to get him to go to a cooking class with me for some time since he didn’t seemed surprised at all.  He simply said 'œSo, you finally got me to go to a cooking class with you, huh?'

I maintain that I have no recollection of previously asking him to do it.  I thought it just occurred to me for the first time'.a little scary if you ask me.

Anyway, by the time I told him of his '˜surprise’, we were walking to Brooklyn Kitchen Labs at The Meathook in Williamsburg.  They have all types of classes from knife skills and butchering to home brewing and focaccia baking '“ which is what I got' focaccia baking.  My thinking was that we like to EAT focaccia so why not learn to make it?

I think your experience at one of these things is very much dependant on who else is in your class.  When we arrived I realized that I had expected it to be a very small group.  In fact, there were 13 of us in total and the place was bustling.  There were a few other couples there including one mother/son duo.  I looked at my husband’s face and it came to me: what was I thinking?  He hates school.  He gets shy when meeting new people.  I got nervous.  People were not so friendly to begin with.  Everyone seemed to be intent on getting a good spot in relation to the cooking area.  There was a feeling of scarcity and everyone scrambling to be sure to get an apron and hand towel.  There also seemed to be a lot of single gals, one of whom I swear was hitting on the teacher (annoying).  So, note to anyone who is going to take one of these classes to meet a man'it ain’t happening.
We began by getting a bio from the dude teaching the class.  He was very friendly and I appreciated his attempt to improve the vibes in the room by playing loud music.  He used that as a non-sequitor to explain how he had been a professional singer for many years.  He and the flirty girl struck up a long and bothersome conversation about what a bad boy he was back in the day and how he could 'œmake a girl cry with his voice.'  He said that the only difference now was that he was able to have that effect on people with his food.  I always like a good food induced cry and welcomed him to try his best.  He went on to say that his baking business now requires him to work 100-hour weeks.  I assume that means he has no time for a girlfriend? Sorry, flirty girl.


We finally got down to cooking and I have to say, I learned SO much.  The bad boy of baking encouraged us to be experimental with our toppings.  They included grainy mustard and spec, bacon and red onion, gray salt and rosemary.  Well, that one is not exceptionally risky but delicious nonetheless.  Can you say yum?

As the class went on, people began to loosen up.  I was able to make friends with the girl sitting next to me by sharing my dough.  Even my husband started to act normal once they handed out the beers to drink (nice touch!) while our dough was rising.

Despite the fear of scarcity that pervaded the class, when it came time to taste our creations, I ate more bread than I ever have in my life'.and let me tell you, there is nothing like bread fresh from the oven.

The class was definitely a good value.  I am not sure how long it was supposed to be, but it lasted a good three hours.  It only cost 50 bucks so there is no question that we got our money’s worth.

Since we didn’t all get to bake our own pan of bread so we actually got to take some dough home with us to try it out ourselves.  If the recipe hadn’t been so simple I would have doubted I could recreate it.  But two days later, with my husband micromanaging me, I was able to make some delicious focaccia.

All in all, it was a good birthday celebration'for me.  The birthday boy did eventually come around and appreciate it in the end.  I am planning what MY next class at the Meat Hook will be already.  Next time, though, I will bring one of my girlfriends'preferably not ones who are trying to meet someone.

Brooklyn Kitchen Labs
The Meathook
100 Frost St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

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Christine Witmer - Sparing Stringer

Christine Witmer - Sparing Stringer

Christine was born and raised in the land of the Pilgrims, Plymouth, Massachusetts. She turned in her buckled shoes when she moved to NYC to attend NYU. From that esteemed University she received her BFA in theatre as well as a Master's Degree in Performance Studies in 2004.
Now an actor, writer and broke ass day-jobber, Christine juggles her many personas with the elegance of a red panda. specifically the one in the Prospect Park Zoo . . . soooooo cute! She can be found most often in her own habitat on the Northside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.