Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Taste of Home Cooking School

Mama loved the Taste of Home magazine. I think she must have gotten the very first issue because the magazine was only around for about a year before Mama passed in May of 1994. Later that same year, about a month before Christmas, I got a card in the mail from Mama. That was an eerie feeling because she had been gone for so many months. I guess she loved that magazine so much that she wanted me to share with me because she sent me a gift subscription for Christmas.  She had to of ordered no later than early May. Naturally, I always think of Mama when I see anything related to Taste of Home.

Since I have never attended a cooking school before, I did not know what to expect from the Taste of Home cooking show. Boy Howdy, did I have low expectations. All I can say is, you GOTTA GO!  Go to and find out when a cooking school will be nearby. Make sure you get good tickets right down front. Oh, and by the way, tickets were only $12.00. Maybe $12.50. Extremely reasonable, AND you get more than that in “goodies” when you walk in the door. Go with a close friend because you will really have a good time that you can discuss for months to come.  

When we first went in, we got a goodie bag with coupons for food, magazines, calendar, chip clips, Ziploc bags, crafting goods like shaped scissors . . . . lots of fun stuff. The bag itself is nice, too. 2 local caterers were set up with samples of wings, dips, sausages, egg rolls, and cheeses. Whole Hog BBQ was selling sandwiches at a very reasonable cost. LOTs of venders where there. Most of them had a box to sign up for a drawing. Right off the top of my head I can think of a nice garden bench, candles, spa treatment, cookbooks, BIG basket of goodies from flip-flops to towels and books, and of course FOOD! As we made our way around the vendors, we found more foods: cheese, nuts, cookies, and Andy’s frozen custard. Mmmmmmm We spent about 2 hours just making our way around all of the vendors.

The show itself was engaging. Jamie (our culinary expert) and Rick Christian (our host and local radio personality) were an awesome match. You would have thought they had been traveling together for years. There was a lot of funny thrown in with the learning.

We had seats directly center stage on the second row. Jamie stood behind the island, so we could see her and watch her hands, but she also had a camera pointed directly at the dish from above. Two big screens were set up on either side of the stage to show the dish from that angle. I think she made about 12 recipes from one of the magazines in our bag. Every bit of that looked yummy, too. She plated everything on fabulous dishes, and at the end of the show those dishes were given to folks from the audience.

You want to talk about prizes? We all turned in cards with our information at the beginning of the show, and they drew names all throughout the nearly 4 hour event. Cookbooks, cookbooks, and more cookbooks. Oh how I wanted one of those! Ziploc had a big package to give away, as did Velveeta, Jimmy Dean, and Gallo wines. I guess they gave away 25-30 bags of groceries. Lots of gift cards. LOTS of food gifts. Gifts from the vendors. I would guesstimate that about 1 hour of the show was just calling names for prizes. The two largest prizes were a side by side stainless steel refrigerator and a trip for 4 to Memphis. The trip included two rooms at the Madison Hotel on the river ($250 each) and 4 seats for a day at a cooking school in Memphis.

The big prizes were impressive, but I really had my eye on some of the smaller ones. Now mind you, I did not win anything. That doesn’t matter. I laughed and laughed, and when I finished, I laughed some more. I learned some little tricks that I did not know. I picked up a couple of “I gotta try that” recipes. I probably would not have ever cooked one of them, even if I saw the recipe in the magazine. Smelling it and seeing it in person hooked me.

The cookbook that really caught my attention is the Comfort Food Diet. Imagine learning how to eat comfort food in a healthy way! I am going to treat myself to a cookbook. I hope you do, too!

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