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Cooking Lessons Make Great Holiday Gifts

Seattle author and teacher Cynthia Nims flexes a pretzel from her Homemade Salty Snacks cookbook.

Nancy Leson came home from a week of media blackout, reactivated all her many electronic devices, "and all I hear about is buying stuff!" she wailed.  

That was my cue to brag of my immunity to all retail blandishments. 

"But," she replied, "I saw something that was a great idea if you were going to buy somebody something.""It's an online cooking class at," Nance said, explaining that some of our favorite cookbook authors  are there, including: Andrea Nguyen teaching Vietnamese classics and favorite Asian dumplings, Molly Stevens with braising and roasting classes, and Seattle's own Cynthia Nims teaching courses based on her "Homemade Salty Snacks" and "French Home Cooking" books.  

Rather give a live, in-person learning experience? Try PCC Natural Markets' cooking classes.

Nance and do I agree that a gift of an activity makes a better present than just some object. Know how to cook or bake something really well? She points out that you can always offer the gift of your own expertise — and says she'd share the pie crust expertise she acquired from Dr. Barbara Schwartz, also a PCC cooking teacher.

"So, Stein," Nancy asked me, "if you were going to give me the gift of teaching me something, what would it be?"

I had to admit that it would be my years-long refinement of the Chinese-American restaurant standby Shrimp and Lobster Sauce, my childhood favorite from New Rochelle's House of Wu in the '60s. 

What do you make that's good enough to teach? What would you like to learn?

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.