APPLE VALLEY — Bored with preparing the same old meals day in and day out and wanting to add some spice to their time in the kitchen, some Apple Valley residents are taking advantage of a monthly cooking class held in Floral Valley.
Instructor Dee Zarbaugh has been sharing her culinary skills with others for the past three or four years.
“I love to cook,” she said. “I like to teach people how to cook. And it’s fun.”
It’s fun for those who take Zarbaugh’s class, too, as the News recently discovered. While Zarbaugh prepared shrimp-topped, cheese-filled crepes covered in a Béarnaise sauce, her instructions were interspersed with helpful hints, such as, use wild shrimp, don’t overcook the shrimp and, to extend the freshness of onions, peel them, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Zarbaugh also offers suggestions for substitutions, for instance, “This can be done with chicken or pork.” She also gives ideas for complementary accompanying side dishes, and answers questions from the class throughout the presentation.
Another fun part is tasting the creations after they are completed.
The funny part comes in when Zarbaugh discloses some anecdotes from her cooking experiences and from occurrences in previous cooking classes.
One humorous incident happened the first year the cooking class was offered at Floral Valley. Zarbaugh and her students decided to prepare bourbon-infused ham. So, there were 15 people injecting bourbon and brown sugar into their hams.
“Some of that mixture went all the way through the hams and went flying all over the kitchen,” said Zarbaugh. “That’s not very easy to clean up. The Sheriff’s Office was here doing some sort of public safety class, and when we left, everyone was walking past the officers smelling like bourbon.”
Although having fun is one reason folks sign up for Zarbaugh’s class, they do have other motivations as well. Rosemary Reese, a dedicated baker, said, “I don’t cook — my husband does — but I want to be able to do something in the summer when I have company and my husband isn’t home.”
Frieda Richmond was also in the class the News attended. “This is my first time,” she said, “but not my last. I want to be able to make something unusual and brag to my husband that I made it myself.”
To make sure she brings enough ingredients to each class, Zarbaugh recommends that interested parties call ahead. Also, attendees have the option of bringing their own ingredients to cook and then take the finished product home with them.