Before we begin, don't forget that the N.C. State Fair (www.ncstatefair.org) starts Friday and continues through Oct. 21 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Lots of eating adventures await there. Go and eat all the turkey legs and deep-fried candy bars you want, you crazy kids. Have fun—and don't forget the antacid.
Now, let's talk about cooking classes. I've been on all sides of the experience: as student, teacher and (most often) as helper-dishwasher. The class I would most recommend for the home cook, no matter where it's offered, is a knife skills class taught by a chef. If you know how to use a knife properly, and how to use a proper knife, both your safety and your skills increase.
My skills and my knives could both use some sharpening, so I could take Brian Adornetto's Knife Skills class at A Southern Season (Hwy. 15-501 at Estes Drive, Chapel Hill, 929-7133, southernseason.com), offered twice this month (at 6 p.m. Oct. 10 and Oct. 24). Adornetto is a graduate of the Institute for Culinary Education in Manhattan, and $50 gets me his lesson plus a light meal at the end of class. Advance registration is required.
Or, I could go to Chez Bay Gourmet (1921 North Pointe Drive, Durham, 477-7878, chezbaygourmet.com) at 9 a.m. on Oct. 20. There, Joel Goldfarb will show me how to handle my knife safely and efficiently while I dice, mince, slice and chiffonade my way through a myriad of ingredients. I can even bring my own 8-inch chef's knife, or borrow one there. Cost is $49, and advance registration is required.
But, if I'm more in the mood for just listening (sometimes) and samples (always), here are some other upcoming events:
Local food writer and author Debbie Moose has a new cookbook out. Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home provides some "fresh ideas that are a step beyond the ordinary football season menu staples of potato salad and chips."
At 11 a.m. on Saturday, Moose will share samples of several of her recipes, including Tandoori Touchdown Wings, Very Veggie Lentil Chili and Mo's Mother's Coleslaw, at The Garden Hut (1004 Old Honeycutt Road, Fuquay-Varina, 552-0590, nelsasgardenhut.com). She will also demonstrate how to prepare the recipes during a cooking demonstration. Cost is free, but reservations are required.
Chatham County's own maker of holiday specialties, Southern Supreme (1699 Hoyt Scott Road, Bear Creek, 336-581-3141, southernsupreme.com) is having its annual open house Thursday through Sunday. They make a lot of stuff there—candy, cookies, jellies, mustards—but their claim to fame, I gather, is fruitcake. It's a family recipe, according to the Web site. Haven't you ever wondered how fruitcake is made? They even have fruitcake cookies! The open house (9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday) features tours and samples. It's free, and no reservations are required.