Are you like me—drooling over your friend’s Twitter posts about #QuarantineBaking or #QuarantineCooking? Would you also like to learn a little more about cooking and baking, so you, too, can cause your friends to drool over the tasty things you created? Well, you’re in luck! Universal Class, accessible with your Library card, has just the class for you: Cooking and Baking 101.
Like many classes through this resource, Cooking and Baking 101 allows you to go at your own pace and choose to watch a video, read a lecture, or both! Doing both is good for this particular class because the video walks you through the lessons in the lecture. Also, a heads up: this class may take you a few days and a grocery trip to complete (lucky for you, there is a section on creating a well-stocked pantry!). And be prepared to try out some recipes you haven’t made before!
The program starts out by walking you through the basics—examining what cooking is and the different methods. Then it moves onto “What is Baking?”, which is interesting because baking IS cooking, but we often think of it as a separate art. As you progress through the class, you’ll learn about common kitchen utensils, when many fruits and veggies are in season, and the difference between fresh vs. dried herbs/spices. Toward the end, the lessons move into teaching you how to read cooking and baking recipes, understanding measurements, measuring conversions, and finally, kitchen safety.
In addition to learning about cooking and baking, the class also offers up several “Fun Recipes” to try out, including Beef Stroganoff, White Bean Chili, and “Almost Olive Garden” Soup. If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side, there are recipes for Sopapilla Cheesecake, “Mom’s Lime Punch,” and Protein-Packed Pancakes. As you move through the class, you are also encouraged to find and try new recipes. At one point, you’re asked to list several places to find new recipes (I’ll give you a hint for one: OverDrive has several cookbooks you can try out!).
While I didn’t participate in the “try out new recipes” as much as I’d like (in the interest of time and lack of groceries), I did take the time to try out a recipe my dad sent me last week, which I later found out was just a Paula Deen recipe for Peanut Butter Bread. It sounded oddly interesting, so I decided to give it a shot!
I assembled my ingredients and went to work mixing. The dough is very wet and sticky, so I was a little concerned with how well it would bake. It also contains a lot of baking powder (four teaspoons), so I worried the taste would be a little off.
After mixing it up, I tossed it into a greased bread pan and baked it for the recommended one hour. Once my oven beeped, I pulled out the bread and let it cool in the pan for a bit. I was able to easily flip it out of the pan after 10 minutes, and…
It’s peanut buttery and a solid, simple “sweet bread.” I think it lacks a good hit of sweet or tang, so if I were to experiment with it in the future (a practice suggested in the class!), I would probably try adding in some tart fruit or even a couple tablespoons of, maybe, raspberry jam. I had a second slice with orange marmalade, and it was amazing, and another with red raspberry jam.
My greatest takeaways from taking this class:
- Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment!
- You can still do awesome things in the kitchen even if you feel like you lack the skills or the groceries.
- Dads, like cookbooks, websites, and Facebook, can be a surprisingly good source for new recipes!
If you’d like to try out this class or others like it, visit the Online Learning page of the MCPL website, and click on Universal Class. You’ll need to create a Universal Class account with your Library card number and a little personal information. Once you’ve got your account, you can search for and take classes like this or many others (art, gardening, and more!).
MCPL Consumer Technology Specialist