This Thursday, International House Davis (I-House) will host the first in a series of three classes that will enable participants to simultaneously hone their culinary skills while learning about different cultures.
“The international cooking classes are possibly the most popular events we offer,” said Elisabeth Sherwin, executive director of I-House. “They are a great opportunity to share culture and experiences as well as different cooking techniques.”
Thursday’s session will feature Indian vegetarian recipes, and classes held on Mar. 21 and Apr. 4 will provide tutelage in Turkish and Japanese cuisine, respectively. All classes begin at 5 p.m. and end at 8 p.m., and take place at the I-House, located at 10 College Park Way.
The classes — which are led by I-House volunteers — are open to all who are interested but are limited to 10 places. After culinary wisdom is imparted and food is prepared, both volunteers and participants share a meal to sample what they have created together.
Tarika Tarika, a UC Davis teaching assistant in Hindi-Urdu and instructor of the Indian cooking class, feels that this is an important element.
“If you’re sitting and having a meal with somebody, you have the kind of conversation you can’t have anywhere else. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn about Indian people as well as the food. People realize there’s more to it than chicken tikka,” Tarika said.
I-House has offered cooking classes since its inception almost 32 years ago, and while they used to be more elaborate and incorporated the involvement of local restaurants, Sherwin believes the current form provides a more wholesome experience.
“People like the smaller classes. The format is more accessible and less expensive,” Sherwin said.
Participants who have signed up are already relishing the prospect of experiencing foreign food while enhancing their culinary repertoires.
“It’s great to get the chance to go straight to an expert to share and learn more about the distinct cooking techniques,” said Ruth Berry, a prospective attendee at Thursday’s Indian class.
Nancy Foytek, a volunteer at I-House and prospective attendee at all three classes, finds the collaborative nature of the course particularly appetizing.
“The instructors show you how to cook, but then it’s a group effort to make the food. It’s a very interactive class. It’s fun to be with the other students, and there’s a real sense of community,” Foytek said.
The classes cost $10 for I-House members, $15 for non-members. To enroll, call (530) 753-5007 or head to internationalhousedavis.org for more information.
JOE STEPTOE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. XXX