Hosting Thanksgiving at your house for the first time and nervous about cooking? You may want to check out Sur La Table’s latest offering of cooking classes. From now until Thanksgiving, they offer pie baking classes, side making classes, even an Ina Garten “Simply Delicious Thanksgiving” class where you’ll get to take home a copy of Ina Garten’s book, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. How bad can that be?

This summer I spent time in Ascona (on the Swiss/Italian border) and brought back some carnaroli rice specifically for making risotto which I’m convinced will be better than anything I can buy here; that is of course assuming I don’t ruin the risotto myself. So, I began to research cooking classes and found the Sur La Table risotto cooking class for $65 which included a nice bottle of olive oil (750ml) to take home and a 10% discount on anything in the store.

The classes at Sur La Table are easy to follow and set up in groups, so if you have 15 people in a class, you’ll end up in a group of 5 and take turns handling things throughout the recipe. In my risotto class, we created 3 different types of risotto – truffle/mushroom, leek/smoked trout, and squash/walnut/kale – and then got to sample (gorge on) the fruits of our labor. All were great recipes using 6 items or fewer. Plus, they provide printed copies of the recipes for you to take notes, and then take home.

Though you may not become a master chef from these classes, they are a great way to perfect the basics, learn some tricks, and socialize with friends and strangers. Provided your group doesn’t go rogue, you’ll probably eat some delicious food too.

Class schedule found at


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