After the plethora of Fine Food and Dining classes I had been to, I was particularly looking forward to this one. As a self-proclaimed Disney nerd, I was eager to see what sort of dishes the Fine Food & Dining Society had managed to tie in with these much-beloved films.
Unfortunately at the beginning of the class we did not have our usual menus due to some printing errors, but it was all righted as we were each given a delicious “Sleeping Potion,” inspired by the story of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. As we sipped the apple, elderflower, and mint refreshment, our instructor began with our first recipe (which was technically the last, as it was our dessert.) Snow White’s “Poison Apple Crisp” began easily enough, combining peeled apple slices with some sugar and spices, as well as citrus zests and juices. We set that off in the back to macerate while moving on to our next recipe.
A Bug’s Life-inspired “Scavenger Salad” was our next dish. Our instructors had set up a mini salad bar, which was particularly enjoyable, as everyone was able to tailor the ingredients to their taste. We were also given tips on how to make our own salads; I was glad to learn that it is all about balancing flavors, and they taught us what different ingredients give you different tastes. Apparently if you are drowning your salads with dressing your salads may lack flavor (guilty as charged) so learning how to create delicious salads will save some calories as well!
Throughout the class we listened to a playlist of Disney tunes, and I had a fun time picking out which songs were on and what films they were from. We also went around and shared our favorite Disney films (Hunchback of Notre Dame, if you were wondering) and in general had a fun time chatting and hanging out.
Next up we began to make what is a fairly standard recipe: spaghetti and meatballs. This brought in another interactive element, as our instructors invited us to the front to help deal with the pile of ground beef. Many rushed up to tackle the challenge, but I was slightly wary: after the Dumpling Debacle of 2014 (see here) I vowed to let the more experienced cooks take charge. Everyone made short work of the beef, and we were quickly ushered back to our seats for some more chatting and instructions.
A variety of other dishes followed, including Beauty and the Beast’s “Quick Beef Ragu,” and Aladdin’s “Arabian Spiced Roast Chicken,” both dishes I could easily replicate, and also found very delicious and in my opinion, rather impressive. One of the standouts was the Alice in Wonderland “Stuffed Mushrooms,” which featured a hefty dose of parmesan and spinach proved a definite crowd pleaser. I also learned that Fine Food & Dining sources a large portion of their ingredients, such as their vegetables and meat, from local stores, at many of which members can get discounts. The main advantage of utilizing these is that if you know you will be cooking for a large group you can put in an order in advance and they will make sure to have the product in stock!
The class finished with the wonderful Apple Crisp, a perfect recipe as our autumn weather fades into winter. The atmosphere of this class was definitely more relaxed and fun-filled than many others, and in my opinion this made it a great success!
Photo Credit: Hannah Risser