Monday, June 28, 2010

Learning to be Flexible

It’s Monday night. Tomorrow I’ll be getting my second CSA delivery of the season. I went to the store yesterday and bought a few ingredients to make some recipes with what will be delivered. The only problem is I shopped before I received my list of vegetables using a list from the week before. If you know anything about farming, you know that crops aren’t that predictable. Last week’s rain means I have just the right items to make a great chard dish as well as a kohlrabi salad, which are no longer part of the delivery. Instead I’m getting leeks, fennel and beets, which I’m not sure what I’ll do with yet.

I could have done some research tonight, but I didn’t have time. Instead of preparing for my night in the kitchen tomorrow, I was eating dinner and celebrating my cooking club’s 10-year anniversary. In honor of the occasion we waived our usual pattern of choosing a theme and contributing a dish for dinner at a local tapas restaurant.

There are 12 of us now in the group. A few have been there since the beginning, a few have come and gone along the way, and the rest of us showed up at one point or another. I joined sometime after the first year reading about it on the Cooking Light website, the magazine that produced the club.

When I joined I wouldn’t have ever guessed that I’d still be in this club nearly a decade later. But who ever imagines something like that? I was new to town and wanted to meet some new people and share something I liked to do. I remember showing up at that first meeting, with my dish in hand, and thinking about turning around and leaving. It was immediately clear to me that I was way out of my league.

The others in the group were far more advanced than I was, discussing ingredients I had never heard of and utensils I didn’t own. But each month I came back and listened and learned. It was the members of my group who first taught me about CSA shares and gave me the courage to sign up.

Along the way I’ve made wonderful friends and learned that when it comes to cooking nobody’s perfect. Each of us has had our share of flops but we never leave a meeting without having shared a good meal. So tomorrow when I get my box, even though I’m not that prepared, I know I’ll figure out what to do with the vegetables I didn’t plan on. I’ve learned a lot about cooking over the past 10 years from some of the finest cooks in town.


  1. Great to see you last night. Glad you didn't turn around and leave on your first day! Re this week's box: I have a fabulous recipe for a chilled beet and buttermilk soup, if you're interested. I think I brought it to cooking club once . . .

  2. I always hoard my leeks to make Ina Garten's lentil soup (I've brought that to CL), and fennel is awesome with roasted potatoes - it gets all soft and caramelized.