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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC’s The Channels reporter cooks first Thanksgiving meal

Diana Coburn, Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes class Instructor, coaches Yolanda Figueroa and Barbara Evanish Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 15 at the Culinary Lab in Schott Campus. Coburn is a cooking instructor and a professional caterer.

Spices, nuts, freshly picked fall vegetables and other ingredients were neatly lined up on metal trays in front of me— giving me and other students an idea of what Thanksgiving dishes we were going to try in class later that day. 

“I hate to cook, but I love to eat,” said Sylvia Kautz, a student in the “Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes” class. Kautz explained that she has had many disasters in the kitchen.

A total of 17 students had signed up for the 10 a.m. cooking class Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the newly renovated Culinary Lab Room 27 on Schott Campus.

Some student were newcomers, and others were regulars, but they all had one thing in common: a love for food.

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Eileen Lewandowski, one of the students, was looking forward to spending the day as a student.

“I’m a retired biochemistry and medical professor from Massachusetts, so today, the tables are turned and I’m going to be a student,” she said while looking over the recipe for “Sweet and Nutty Forbidden Rice Pilaf” in the handout.

Diana Coburn, cooking instructor and professional caterer, taught the class. Coburn started the class up with a short lecture explaining the agenda of the day, introducing the dishes, and giving tips on how to cut the vegetables properly. Coburn has taught multiple cooking classes at the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning.

The students could chose between nine recipes to cook, including Sausage, Apple & Sage Stuffing, Orange Cranberry Sauce, Make Ahead Rustic Mashed Potatoes, Carrot & Ginger Soup, and much more.

With my toe-closed shoes, hair tied back, and well-wrapped apron, I was ready to take on the Carrot & Ginger Soup. 

Jill Yeomans, who loves cooking, helped me out. First, we had to peel and slice the vegetables.

Besides the big knife Yeomans equipped me with to cut onions, I felt like I was in safe hands.

Yeomans and Lebanese Yvette Daoud, another student in the class, have cooked together for 20 years.

“I’m coming to these classes to be with my friends. And cook,” said Daoud.

As we worked on the soup, we smelled, touched and tasted the different ingredients. The soup had the perfect consistency and a nice orange color, but we were not completely satisfied with the taste. Luckily, Yeomans knew what to do. We spiced it up with cayenne pepper and curry. Voilà, time to garnish it with sour cream, chives, salt and pepper.

“I’m an old lady who quit cooking a long time ago, and now I’m trying it out again,” said

Kautz as she went on to tell me about the time she “screwed up” Thanksgiving dinner. She had mixed up the cooking tin foil so when she served the turkey, it was completely raw.

“Once, I was boiling eggs. I totally forgot, and left the house. When I came back five hours later, they had exploded into small threats,” said Kautz. I had a feeling that she might have more food horror stories like that to tell.  

The kitchen on Schott Campus was modern, with a camera that filmed Coburn’s cutting board from above and projected the image on two screens on each side of the classroom, making it possible for everyone to see.

At around 1 p.m. everyone had finished cooking and it was time to eat.

“That’s the sound I love, no sound,” said Yeomans about the peaceful ambiance.

We all helped to clean, and Coburn fixed to-go boxes with the leftovers for students, who wanted to take some food home for their families.

“Thank you for your hard work and patience. I know it gets a little crazy sometimes,” said Coburn.

The SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning offers many different kinds of programs that are open to everyone. Lisa Draper, administrative assistant at Schott Campus, explained how to sign up for classes.

“You sign up online. It takes less than four minutes, and it’s super easy.”

It is also possible to sign up in person, on Schott Campus or Wake Campus.

Coburn’s next class, “Beautiful Holiday Food Treats,” is the last one of the quarter. The class costs $38 with an additional $15 for materials, and takes place at 10 a.m. Nov. 29, in the Culinary Lab Room 27 on Schott Campus.

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