Article number 5: Cooking in a convent

Article number 5: Cooking in a convent

Here is quick little story that I have published a number of times over the years and it never seems to get old.

During the early years of our school (we began in 1994) many of our courses were held in schools, shops, restaurants and elsewhere because we did not have a real cooking school. Now we have a very nice school with lecture rooms and a big demonstration cooking facility and we rarely do courses outside anymore. One of the best courses we did was in a convent in Liguria, the costal region of Italy that borders France.

We had about 20 participants and the sisters of the convent helped and participated when they could. I was there for moral support and it was a success in every way. Each day we would cook and then sit and eat together (I was particularly involved in the eating part) and the sisters would lead us both in saying grace and in cleaning up after the meals; they were great.

At the end of the weekend the more senior of the sisters starting waving and gesticulating in my direction, she had something important to tell me.

In Liguria the people are famous for being very parsimonious and not very tall: they say "their arms are too short to reach deep into their pockets when it is time to pay". The good sister who was calling me over was very generous but in the not-too-tall department she was at the top of the list, she was tiny. As I got close to her she took my arm and gently (but with firmness) pulled me down closer to her so I could hear her important message, she said:

"I know what you are teaching in your school is truly valid because each meal was rich and filling and very enjoyable and then when we washed the dishes I noticed that nothing stuck to the plates or the pots and pans. I am sure that despite the richness of the food nothing will cause problems in the body."

I think this story needs no further comment.