Learning to cook with class in Inverness

Most folks were sitting down to dinner when I arrived at Birmingham Bake and Cook Company on Valleydale Road in Inverness.

Twelve guests already filled two rows, sipping wine, awaiting a cooking adventure. I’d come to learn how to make falafel, the “national street food of Israel,” according to Owner/Operator Susan Green, who once lived there.

“I love street food in general, love eating with my hands. It was abundant in Israel,” she said.

This event is one of many held by Green, a New England native and graduate of Culinary Institute of America. She arrived two years ago from New York City and is bringing cosmopolitan flair to Shelby County with events at her store.

Green was assisted by a Jefferson State culinary student and one volunteer. Both kept busy as she cooked an array of eight dishes.

The common theme of the foods was garlic, herbs and lemon juice, rich savory aromas that wafted about, making me salivate.

Green had prepared hummus (the best I’ve ever tasted), roasted chick peas and pita in advance for guests to enjoy while observing her chef skills.

Chef Green generously sprinkled conversation with humorous quips, keeping the crowd laughing as she taught by demonstration.

She told of life experiences, living in Israel and eating from street vendors daily.

“In the Middle East, salads are eaten year around,” she said. “Every meal was eaten al fresco, outside.”

When the cooking was complete, dishes were placed for a buffet meal.

The beautiful array was an awesome blend of the freshest ingredients: bright red peppers, green cucumbers, chick peas and herbs; and the dish called falafel with its savory flavor.

After a door prize, dinner was enjoyed by all. Then we shopped.

Bake and Cook offers many kitchen supplies, Shelby County’s McEwen & Sons’ organic corn products, Lodge Logic Ironware, Emile Henry ovenware and more.

For information, call 980-3661 or visit Bakeandcookco.com.

Gladys Hodge Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at gsherrer@hotmail.com.