She walked in with a lively spring in her step and a hint of crazy in the eyes… The kind of crazy I like. Looking and acting every bit like a mad scientist meets Amelia Bedelia dressed in a chef coat, Lèzanne began the class. Her companion, Lamont, who all the mature women in the crowd agreed was nice eye candy (out of his presence of course) was equally as charming but less hectic. The topic for the evening: Indian Food (or rather Indian Food, South African Style).
On a side note, my favorite accessory to Lèzanne’s attire was a thermometer being used to pin her hair in place. So perfectly quirky and appropriately coordinating… I took a moment to write it down and then thought to myself… “Damn! Why didn’t I think of that sooner?!”
The menu featured tomato chutney, chicken curry, chicken and vegetable soup, basmati pilaf and rice pudding. The flavors ranged between sweet, spicy, earthy and rich. Lèzanne embellished each recipe with an explanation of its origin, south African modification and suggestions on how to make the recipe your own. Some of the best parts of the evening were the anecdotes about her family life and Lamont’s devout attention to stirring the rice pudding.
Never a dull moment in the evening, I greatly appreciated Lamont’s detailed description of the differences between Indian, African, Thai and other world curries. Each dish was delicious and although the crowd was a little skeptical of Lèzanne’s firm enthusiasm about bananas and coconut added as a topping to curry, it was a scrumptious surprise.
After a few juggled pot lids, misplaced ingredients, blending a poor unsuspecting chicken and nervous giggles, the members of the audience, myself included, were full and well-educated. I gained 3 important things from the class: an appreciation for curry with coconut and bananas, a new addition for my culinary-non-culinary wardrobe (even if it is a bit unoriginal) and although I did not know it then, but am learning it now… a new friend to be made.
Until next time…