Tuesday, October 16, 2012


 I enjoy taking culinary classes when I visit a new location, and had the good fortune during my recent trip to Chicago, Illinois, to take three different classes, in three different locations in downtown Chicago.  The classes were sponsored by MasterCard, in various locations around "The Magnificent Mile" shopping areas lining Michigan Avenue.  All the instructors were well-known chefs from some of Chicago's most famous and elite restaurants.  The locations included the flagship store for Crate and Barrel, a high-rise mall called "The Shops at Northbridge", and Bloomingdale's Home Store, which is a repurposed historic landmark, just a block or so off of Michigan Avenue.  Culinary Tourism has become such a fast-growing niche market that some manufacturers of home appliances have developed "customer experience" facilities that offer many different types of culinary venues.  The example shown in the photograph is the Whirlpool Corporation ( www.whirlpoolcorp.com ).  This red brick building, with its impressive clock tower, is situated along the Chicago River.  It was recently opened after extensive remodeling, to provide a world-class training and brand experience center for visitors and potential customers.  It was designed to be interactive, with state of the art appliances and environment.  There are several factors that have led to an interest in culinary classes.  One factor is there is an entire generation of Americans who never learned to cook!  Eating out in restaurants or going to a drive-thru fast food location is all they know, and they are becoming curious about what they have missed, by turning over the preparation of the majority of their food intake to strangers.  Likewise, the rise in television programming, such as the Food Network, the Travel Channel, the Cooking Channel, Iron Chef, Bizarre Foods, etc., etc., has fostered more interest in a return to the culinary basics.  In addition, statistics show that in families that have more meals together at home (vs. in restaurants/fast food drive-thrus), there is a lower incidence of obesity.  For all these reasons, plus the verse in Psalm 34:8 that says "Taste and see the the Lord is good.", I am hoping that you will try a culinary class, and that it will give you "miles of smiles"!  Tricia
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