Soup was the focus of my first book, and (as I wrote back then) I could probably cook and gobble up a different soup every day without ever tiring of it. So yes, you could say I am obsessed with soup. Good soup. Italian soup. And I am happy to tell you that I have channeled my obsession most productively.
This week marks the launch of my first online class, which is all about…authentic Italian soups. I’ve teamed up with the fine folks at Craftsy, and together we have created a comprehensive class on how to make great Italian soups, starting with homemade broth and ending with essential finishing touches.
If you are not familiar with Craftsy, do yourself a favor and check it out. It is an educational website that produces and sells high-quality DIY classes and uses technology to help people learn. In the three years since the company launched, it has grown into a community of more than 2 million members. You can take classes on any number of skills, including photography, knitting (love!), sewing, quilting, painting, cake decorating, and cooking ~ which is where my class comes in.
Over the years since becoming a cookbook author, I’ve taught a lot of classes ~ but I’ve done so intermittently, usually when I am traveling and promoting a new book. I loved the idea of having an online presence so that I could reach more home cooks, aspiring cooks, and Italian food lovers.
Last fall, I worked with a Craftsy editor (who, most coincidentally, was one of the editors for my book Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian) to develop the class Authentic Italian Soups: From Broth to Bowl. In December I traveled to Denver, where Craftsy is based, and spent five packed days working with an excellent team ~ producer, stylist, videographer, video editor ~ filming the class.
What especially appealed to me as a teacher is that Craftsy cooking classes are not focused on who is behind the stovetop, but rather what is going on in the pots and pans on the stovetop. The instructors are not celebrities, but rather seasoned professionals, including Alice Medrich, James Peterson, Peter Reinhardt, Diane Morgan, Giuliano Hazan, Molly Stevens and Andrea Nguyen. (You probably own some of their cookbooks.) These are serious technique classes, created with the purpose of teaching students skills they will use throughout their lives.
My class comprises seven lessons and clocks in at just over 2 hours. We start with the essential techniques for making broth (both meat and vegetable), and from there we build a variety of soups. There’s a wealth of practical information ~ everything from how to cut up a big head of cauliflower to the best ways to coax flavor out of your soup ingredients. We discuss which vegetables and aromatics are best for which soups, and we learn about the rhythm that accompanies the process of making a classic minestrone. In the final class, we put the finishing touch on our soups with homemade garnishes. (Bonus: you get to see me wear LOTS of make up.)
You can take the class at your leisure ~ once you’ve enrolled, it’s yours. It never expires. You can pause, skip back or skip forward. Watch one lesson, or even a snippet of a lesson, as many times as you like or need to until you’ve got the technique down. Post questions and I will answer them. Everyone is encouraged to interact in the online discussions and forums. Many Craftsy students post pictures of what they’ve made (sort of like Pinterest) and if you take my class I hope you’ll post yours.
To celebrate the launch, Craftsy is hosting a giveaway of the class. Here are the details:
* The prize: One free registration to Authentic Italian Soups: From Broth to Bowl
* How to enter: Just click on this submission form. You will be prompted to register with Craftsy (if you aren’t already a member) in order to be entered for the giveaway. It’s easy to join, and it’s free. And you are not obliged to enroll in a class.
* When’s the deadline? The deadline for entering is noon (12 p.m.) EST on Monday, February 10, 2014. I’ll post the winner here.
Good luck! For those of you who aren’t the lucky winner, please feel free to click on the Craftsy badge on the right rail ~ this will allow you to enroll in the class at a 25 percent discount. And please help to spread the word to all your food-loving family and friends. After all, with the winter many of us have been having, you can’t have too much good soup!