Kitchen Classes at VHS City West

Get to know botanical families by hanging out with them in the kitchen!

Want to deepen your knowledge of herbalism and plant based cooking? This series will introduce you to the plants as whole living beings, and as members of families. Just as with human families, some plant families have members with an obvious family resemblance, where they all look and act pretty much the same. Other families are wildly diverse, and it’s hard to believe the members are even related! And then there are often a few weirdos that make you wonder: really? That freak is from that family? Weird.

We can easily lose track of the fact that foods begin as living beings. In our coldly calculating consumerist world plants and their parts are treated as products. But pumpkins evolved in an ecological context, as part of the web of life. Our domesticated food crops coevolved with us from their wild ancestors. We honor our gardening ancestors by acknowledging the efforts they made to create these foods that we continue to enjoy.

These classes are designed not just to introduce you to new recipes, creative ways to use herbs, fruits and vegetables in your kitchen, and give some intriguing facts about historical use, but also to help you to connect to them more deeply, to give you more of an appreciation for the everyday. We are so trained to go looking outside, to the new and exotic, for inspiration. But so much wonder and delight hides in plain sight, on your kitchen counter, if only you are willing to look a bit more closely, to take a moment to notice.

With your newfound depth of knowledge about and sensory experience with the plants highlighted in each class and a few basic principles of recipe structure and formulation, you’ll be able to spontaneously write your own recipes in the kitchen. An improvisational approach to cooking will let you customize to the tastes and needs of the people you nourishing, as well as adapt gracefully and efficiently to be able to use whatever ingredients you happen to have in the moment.