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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
“They say if you don’t like something, you have to eat it fifteen times. I used to hate ginger, but I’ve eaten it so much that now I love it.”
Such was the advice from Meg Tallon to the people of Westwood and Dover attending her “eating for two” themed cooking class at Powisett Farm last Thursday morning, when it came to developing an acquired taste for the spicy root.
But by the time the chicken cutlets, spring pea, herb and chicken pasta, lamb meatballs, pan seared salmon, white beans, and peach crumble had been prepared, it was clear nobody would need to cook these dishes fourteen more times to learn to enjoy them.
Unlike many cooking classes that have lots of down-time during which one person is cooking and the majority of the group is watching, Tallon’s class had almost everyone working on some dish, with her checking in on the participants and occasionally asking for the entire class’ attention to point out a lesser-known cooking tip or correct a common mistake.
One of the more common mistakes she pointed out is washing raw chicken. Tallon explained that you’re far more likely to spread the germs around during the washing process than you are to get sick from not washing the chicken at all. Other common chicken mistakes included not getting the oil hot enough, as oil that is too cool tends to soak into the chicken too much.
To Tallon’s credit, although she graduated from The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, she wasn’t afraid to admit where her recipes came from. She fully acknowledged that her peach crumble topping came from “The Barefoot Contessa,” but said it was the best she had ever eaten.
There was a bit of a slapstick moment when Meg threw a pinch of salt behind her for luck, only for it to hit a woman walking behind her. The salt over the shoulder throw, apparently, only protects the luck of the thrower.
Cooking for two was a great theme choice, especially considering many home cooks are often deterred by cost and the fact that they don’t need all the food provided by a full recipe. To that end, Tallon was quick to point out how she cut costs (like adding hamburger to the lamb meatballs), and how many of her ingredients could be frozen for later use if you don’t want to make a ton of food.
Meg Tallon forced herself to eat ginger enough that she learned to like it. On Thursday, she taught people a few dishes they’d enjoy the first time around.