A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with the First Step

As I revealed in an earlier post, I have begun a new journey.  On Sunday I taught my first cooking class at the Kitchen Shoppe & Cooking School in Carlisle, PA and I had a great time doing it!

First, let me say a HEARTY THANK YOU to the wonderful women at the Kitchen Shoppe.  They have encouraged and supported and guided me throughout the process and they celebrated with me before, during and after class on Sunday.  I consider myself seriously lucky to be a part of their team!  The photo below includes only a few of those women!!!

Ann Me Sue Barb Mo TiffanyAlso, thank you to my friends and family who have supported me as I’ve begun this journey, especially to my husband, Jeff.  And thank you to those friends who have come over to eat one or several iterations of the same meal!!!!  YOU ROCK!  It sounds like a good job, but not all iterations turn out as well as others!

Jeff and Me Before ClassTypically when I include photographs in a post, they are photos that I have taken (with very few exceptions and those exceptions are credited to the person who took them).  The majority of the photos in this post were taken by Jeff – thanks honey!!!

Preparations for class began in early December when I had to submit menus (for this class and other upcoming classes) so they could be printed in the spring catalog.  Then, I tested and documented all the recipes and sent them in to Tammy at the Kitchen Shoppe who typed them in the standard format, reviewed them to make sure they made sense and made suggestions about tools/products to use during class. Thanks, Tammy!

Although I did a great deal of research about different components of my dishes, among other things; this class was a great one to begin with because the foods I prepared and served were all variations on foods my family has made for generations.  And although I am quite familiar with the basic recipes; I put my spin on each one as I normally do when I am cooking.  All my research helped me prepare my notes for class.

Food preparation began at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, when I arrived at the Kitchen Shoppe to find Tammy already gathering ingredients.  I worked, with a great deal of assistance, until approximately 3:00 p.m. prepping trays for demos, making chicken broth, giving direction on preparations for braciole (filled sirloin braised in tomato sauce) and scrippelle (parmesan filled crepes served in broth) and rosemary olive oil cake, making many crepes, browning meat, making sauce, etc. As I have shared with you in the past, I prepared a schedule for myself for kitchen prep and it was very helpful.  I was also glad for the opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen with Sue, who was working the ovens for two classes that were going on as I was prepping.  I was able to get to know her better and to learn a lot about the history of the Kitchen Shoppe.  And it was fun to sit down late in the afternoon, after my prep and all the classes were finished, and kibitz with some of the wonderful ladies who work at the Kitchen Shoppe!

You would think that after a full day of cooking I was tired, but I was actually wired.  When I got home I took my two dogs for a long walk and then started to wind down by giving myself a manicure and pedicure.  Jeff and I made a quick dinner together and then I reviewed my notes and went to bed early.

On Sunday morning I got up at 6:30 so that I could put the finishing touches on my notes, iron my clothes and apron, shower and get dressed, eat a hearty breakfast and mentally prepare for class.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous on Sunday morning.  My nerves started to get the best of me at around 9:00 a.m., but I am glad to remind you that prayer really works!

I left for the Kitchen Shoppe at 10:15 and stopped at McDonald’s for a diet coke on the way.  Trying to give up coffee doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally need a caffeine fix – and the soda did the trick.  I arrived at the Kitchen Shoppe just before 11:00 am to find Barb pulling all my prepped trays out of the fridge and loading them on to the dumb-waiter.  I took some pics and helped her load.

Barb and the Chicken BrothThen we headed upstairs.  We got all the trays in the proper order, took out all the items I’d need for class, and began the last-minute prep of ingredients.  Class members began arriving at about 12:30 for the 1:00 class and the seats filled up quickly. I could not have asked for a better group of helpers surrounding me during my first class.  Ann, Barb, Mo and Tiffany made the class run sooo smoothly.  They washed dishes, served and cleared, got me everything and anything I needed, cleaned up after me and kept me on track.  I highly recommend having four support people in the kitchen every time you cook!!! ; )

I was somewhat surprised to see my mom and my Aunt Pam arrive – although I suspected they would attend with Jeff despite my request to have no family members there!

Aunt Pam Me and MomAlso in attendance was the winner of my Giveaway 03/17/13 through 03/24/13, Donna Spoonhour.  You’ve read about Donna on the blog in the past! Donna brought two friends with her – Leslie, someone I know from our church and was happy to see, and Lisa, whom I had not met before Sunday.  The three of them have been friends since Junior High – how amazing is that?

Blog Winner Donna Me Lisa LeslieAnd of course, in the class were many folks I didn’t know. It was truly my pleasure to cook for and get to know the group.  They asked great questions and interacted with one another.  Some exchanged phone numbers and recipes.  And the ladies in the front row – a mom and her four daughters – shared their wine with me at the end of class – thanks, ladies! The whole class made it such a fun day for me!

New FriendsI can truly tell you that I have no idea where the time went from 1:00 to 3:15. It absolutely flew!  I thought for sure I would run out of things to say after about an hour; but at about 3:15 I realized I had to pick up my pace!

I hope the class enjoyed the food and the day as much as I enjoyed preparing it and spending it with them.   What a great learning experience this has been!  I have found another great way to share my passion for cooking, eating and entertaining.  Hopefully I will  “review the game tape” and make the appropriate adjustments for the next class.  You can view my upcoming classes at ‘Classes I’m Teaching.’  I’d love to see you at the Kitchen Shoppe & Cooking School!!!

As I think about this past year and this new journey I am on, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes by author, poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!  Live the life you’ve always imagined.”


Take a look at the pics from the day!

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7 thoughts on “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with the First Step

  1. Thank you again Jan and The Kitchen Shoppe! My friends and I had such a good time! They kept saying “I can’t believe she has never done this before”. You are a natural! It was such a fun time!

    • I am so glad you all made it! It was great fun for me once I got past my initial attack of nerves. I am so happy that you were there!!!!

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