Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Gift with Possibilities

I don't say this often enough, but my parents are really cool. I mean, REALLY cool. You hear that, Mom and Dad? I'm talking about you!

Why do I mention this now, you ask? Well, here's why:

What you're looking at right there is quite possibly the coolest birthday gift EVER. (Well, maybe next to J's gift, which was Rock Band, and one of coworker buddy's gift of a Roger Dean print, signed by the artist. I mean honestly, how did I get such awesome people in my life?) Its a $100 gift certificate for a food enthusiast class at the Culinary Institute of America, and a catalog that's just full of temptingly interesting courses. I've always wanted to take a real cooking course or two, and the CIA is one of the most respected culinary academic organizations in the world. The only downside to this? Figuring out what course to take!

In theory, I could go to either the Astor Place location in NYC, or the main campus in Hyde Park (which is in the Hudson Valley area of NY, near Poughkeepsie). The Astor Place location would be a lot more convenient for me, and the hands-on classes are a bit cheaper there, so that would seem to be the obvious choice, but the main campus offers "boot camp" programs, which are a full day's worth of instruction along with an afternoon lecture.

I already know that I want to take a hands-on course rather than a basic demonstration course, despite the fact that the demonstrations are significantly cheaper and could be paid for entirely with the gift certificate - if I'm going to do this, I want real, hands-on instruction. There's a couple of classes that I'm eying (specifically the Astor Place "Sundays at the CIA" programs in Pasta or European Breads, or oen of the CIA Fundamentals courses, or the main campus Boot Camps in Classic and Contemporary Sauces, Spanish Tapas, or Italian-America Classics) but I want to ask around a bit to see if anyone I know has had experience with the CIA's enthusiast courses and which formats are the most worthwhile. I'm also debating the merits of choosing a course that might be a bit cheaper so that I could foot the bill for J to go with me - I know he'd enjoy it and it would be a lot more fun for us both to go at once. Decisions, decisions!

I know there aren't many people reading this blog yet, but if anyone happens to see this, do you have any suggestions or experiences you could relate?

I don't think I can express just how excited I am about this.

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