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Turkey Roasting 101

Prep for the big day with a Thanksgiving cooking class.
Thursday Nov 05, 2009.     By Centerstage Chicago Staff
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

You can make this!

Okay, so you've mastered the stir-fry and can boil water with the pros, but do you have the culinary chops to trot out a turkey with all the fixins on Thanksgiving Day? If the idea of carving the perfect bird has you trembling in your boots, don't fret; plenty of caterers, restaurants and culinary schools offer Thanksgiving-geared classes to help you strut your stuffing without the stress. Class sizes are limited, so be sure to register in advance.

Chopping Block
This cooking school has multiple Thanksgiving-themed classes at two locations. The popular Thanksgiving Crash Course trains you in tempting dishes like sage stuffing, brussels sprouts with maple mustard glaze and glazed root vegetables for just $75. "Vegetarians Eat Thanksgiving, Too!" provides a full menu of cruelty-free comfort food like quinoa stuffing, caramelized onion gratin and sweet potato pie for $65. If you feel like you need a full dress rehearsal for the big night, there's a hands-on workshop for $100 that gives you the chance prepare the whole shebang in "real time." If you're strictly looking for a primer in pies, the $40 "Harvest Pies" covers apple cranberry, pumpkin and a chocolate bourbon pecan that will have you truly thankful for this culinary institution. There's also a free turkey-carving class for those looking for the basics.

  • Merchandise Mart
    Crash Course: November 16 and 21 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
    Vegetarian: November 15 from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and November 18 from 7-9:30 p.m.
    Harvest Pies: November 14 and 22 from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
    Hands-On Workshop: November 14, 20 and 22 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
    Carving: November 20, 3-4 p.m.

  • Lincoln Square
    Crash Course: November 11 and 15 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
    Vegetarian: November 15 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and November 18 from 6-8:30 p.m.
    Harvest Pies: November 8 and 21 from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
    Hands-On Workshop: November 18 and 21 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
    Carving: November 21 from 2-3 p.m.

Beverly's Pantry
Want some help in the kitchen this year? The kid-focused "Make and Take" hands-on dessert class on November 21 will give your children a chance to contribute to the feast. The class, aimed at kids 7-12, costs $25 per child and runs from noon-1:30 p.m.

Cooking Fools
Wicker Park's catering and cooking school offers a two-and-a-half-hour Thanksgiving 101 class focusing on the basics plus shopping, planning and presentation. Cooking Fools also offers wine for purchase by the glass during their classes, to better replicate your actual cooking conditions. November 10 from 6:30-9 p.m.; $75.

Flavour Cooking School
West suburbanites can head over to Flavour in Forest Park where Chef Denise Norton demonstrates traditional Thanksgiving feast preparation from top to bottom in four hours, covering the meat and potatoes plus a pumpkin mocha tart. November 8 and 21 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; $90. For those who want to keep it more intimate (and simple), there's also a "Cozy Thanksgiving" class on November 10 from 7-9:30 p.m. ($50).

Gallery 37 World Kitchen
At only $30, the four-hour "Thanksgiving Memories" at Gallery 37 is the most affordable game in town. This basics class walks you through shopping and timing and provides recipes to the traditional favorites. November 21, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Sur La Table
At first blush, "Bon Appetit: All-American Thanksgiving" at Sur la Table appears to be a hands-on basics class...until you glance at the menu. Dungeness crab and heirloom bean brandade and bacon, apple and fennel stuffing are sure to earn you an ovation from even the most effete epicurean. You'll learn the ropes and then some in this hands-on class. November 20, 6:30 p.m.; $69.

Wooden Spoon
The Wooden Spoon is holding three specialty hands-on classes right before the big day, letting you get a jump on time-gobbling (pun fully intended) sides and pies. "Thanksgiving Cliffs Notes" on November 17 at 6:30 p.m. will arm you with enough homemade cranberry sauce, wild mushroom stuffing, herbed turkey gravy and pumpkin pie to feed your family even if the turkey doesn't turn out so well. "Thanksgiving Pies to Take Home" on November 25 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. will send you home with pumpkin, apple and chocolate bourbon pecan ($80). And if you're looking for a hands-on run of the whole feast, take the Thanksgiving Workshop November 21 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. ($80).

Be thankful for Centerstage Chicago's Thanksgiving Guide
Eat Out ~ Drink on the Eve
Buy a Pie ~ Volunteer and Give Back
Eat at O'Hare ~ Munch Near Midway


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