Patricia Rose travels the world through her Westchester cooking classes

By Michael Aushenker

Patricia Rose wants “to teach people that cooking is easy and fun”

Patricia Rose wants “to teach people that cooking is easy and fun”

For Westchester cooking instructor and culinary blogger Patricia Rose, food is a passport to travel the world.

Ten years ago, Rose — a founding member of Culinary Historians of Southern California — started sharing her adventures through monthly cooking classes at Westchester’s Holy Nativity Episcopal Church.
On Feb. 6, Rose reaches across the Pacific for a class titled “A Taste of Asia.” An itinerary of five quickie recipes includes:
• Vegetable pot stickers from China (zhengjao) and Japan (gyoza) with a sesame-ginger dipping sauce
• The “Evil Jungle Prince” from Keo’s Thai Restaurant in Honolulu — a blend of cabbage, chicken and coconut milk
• Bulgogi: soy-sesame marinated beef lettuce wraps from Korea
• Malaysian prawns and pineapple served over rice noodles
•Pakistani ice cream with pistachios, cardamom and rosewater

Rose will also show students how to whip up a batch of Thai iced tea to accompany the entrees, and the ice cream will be made from scratch with milk and “with no egg or egg custard in it,” she said.

Rose’s mission as a teacher and a writer — she’s blogged since 2010 at freshfoodinaflash.com — includes serving up recipes with a side of culture.

“You learn so much about history and why we eat the things we eat,” Rose said of studying food. “I try to incorporate a little of that history into the class.”
“A Taste of Asia” is one of 11 classes Rose has lined up for this year.

September’s class, titled “La Cucina Italiana,” will also contain a bit of personal history. Rose used to work as an advertizing representative for the American edition of La Cucina Italiana (recently discontinued after 80 years of publication) and for McCalls magazine, work that led her to L.A.’s best restaurants and gave her the bug to study cooking at night. While at McCall’s, she took UCLA extension courses led by Cecelia DeCastro, who had worked with Wolfgang Puck, and food stylist Denise Vivaldo.
While attending Culinary Historians of Southern California meetings in the mid-1990s, Rose discovered a treasure trove of cookbooks at the Los Angeles Central Library. It was in mastering and modifying those recipes that she found her calling to teach.

Rose praised husband Chris Woodyard, a journalist who covers the automotive industry for USA Today, as the objective beneficiary of her culinary experimentation at home.
“He’s very critical, even though he doesn’t deserve to be,” she said with a laugh.

Rose, who is determined “to teach people that cooking is easy and fun,” said students who are newcomers to the kitchen should not be intimidated.

“Sometimes we have mistakes,” she said. “Sometimes that’s the best learning experience when you rescue the mistake.”
Patricia Rose’s “A Taste of Asia” cooking class runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 6 in the community all at Holy Nativity Episcopal Church, 6700 W.  83rd St., Westchester. The fee is $40 before Monday or $45 at the door. To RSVP, email patricia@freshfoodinaflash.com.

Michael(at)argonautnews.com