A Perfect Diversion: Local Bites Cooking Classes

With so many things cancelled, rescheduled, or changed in recent months, finding new things to do has been a key in our house for staying mentally healthy. In keeping with that goal, yesterday my daughter and I took an online cooking class called Anytime Gingerbread.

Admittedly, I’m a little over all things virtual and could do without ever attending another Google Meet or Zoom meeting. So initially, I wasn’t all that excited about doing a cooking class online. But, it was legitimately fun, something completely different than I’d ever done before, and a great opportunity to learn something new. Plus, it was a fun thing to do with my daughter, and my sister-in-law and niece also joined the class. All in all, It was a great way to connect with people and to disconnect from every day life for a while.

We did the class through Local Bites, an online community where you can get access to recipes and cooking classes. The cool thing about Local Bites is that it gives members of the community the opportunity to host or attend classes. The hosts are home chefs that get to share their unique experiences, backgrounds and family recipes.

This is something that I loved about the experience. Our host, Pam, has extensive experience cooking, teaching and catering. Yet, from her own home kitchen, she was sharing a favorite recipe that she learned from her background as Pennsylvania Dutch. It didn’t feel intimidating to cook “with” her, and I felt really comfortable asking her questions and enjoyed hearing extra details and context about her recipe. And not for nothing, the finished project was legitimately the best gingerbread I’ve ever eaten. (Having now eaten about 15 gingerbread cookies in 24 hours, my opinion has not changed.)

Logistically, we joined the class via Zoom. I was curious how that would work, but it all went smoothly. A couple of times I fell behind, but it was easy enough to just let her know, and she stopped and helped me get up to speed. Plus, she was able to move her camera around to show us what she was doing, how things should look, etc. I loved getting to hear her stories, learn from her experience, ask her questions and try something new.

Trying a class like this was definitely not something that was on my radar – I had never taken a cooking class before, and certainly not a virtual one, but I loved it and will definitely do it again. There are classes on just about anything you can think of, and you can sort through them with a ton of helpful filters like type of recipe, skill level, length, and number of participants. I really loved our instructor, so I’m planning to take another one of her classes – A Cuppa Cheescake, perhaps? I also have had my eye on Guampke’s Cabbage Rolls, which look delicious.

As the weather changes, I highly recommend checking out Local Bites. It’d be fun to do on your own, but also good to do with a couple of friends or even a group. I loved doing it with family from out of town and am thinking of trying a holiday class with my book club this year instead of our annual Christmas and Gingerbread house party.

Plus, the good people at Local Bites have shared a discount code for anyone that wants to check it out – just select the class of your choice and enter the coupon code EMILYBITES for a 5% discount. And perhaps most importantly, let me know if you’re interested in doing a class. I’m looking forward to doing it again and using this fall and winter at home to build some new cooking skills.

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