July 5, 2007

Portland Health and Wellness, LLC (1821 SE Ankeny St.)

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A few months ago, while waiting for a movie to start at the Laurelhurst Theater, an ad popped on the screen for Portland Health and Wellness. It is not your typical health clinic, the ad said. That's true. It's location, in what looks to be an old warehouse or garage, is the first giveaway. They offer acupuncture, nutritional consultation, naturopathic care, psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. Their focus seems to be on eating disorders, nutrition, and mindful eating.

As part of their offerings, they have cooking classes - Cooking with Greens, Cooking for Diabetes, One-Pot Cooking, Cooking for Men/Women Who Hate to Cook, and several more. So, I decided to sign up for the Cooking for Diabetes class, because I can always learn more and $45 for a hands-on cooking class is a pretty good deal.

I got there at 10:00 on Saturday morning, ready to watch the chef in action. But before the cooking started, we sat in a conference room attached to the kitchen and listened to a nutritionist talk for 45 minutes about eating a healthy diabetic diet (note that I said EATING and not COOKING). Great information. Already know it. Already heard this from the doctor, from the American Diabetes Association. Already heard this for free. With our hands full of diet tips, charts, graphics on healthy diets, the nutritionist turned it over to the chef. He had given us three recipes that we were going to make.

First though, he had to make some adjustments. We were going to cut out the Cointreau from the marinated strawberries and use orange juice instead. Also these were not going to be served on angel food cake or with whipped cream as the recipe said because it was too much sugar, calories and also because he forgot to buy the cake.

He made some adjustments to the other recipes, but I can't remember what they were, mostly because the dessert modifications were near traumatic. I was looking at what was a KILLER recipe for marinated strawberries and because I am diabetic I have to cross out all that is good and tasty in the recipe. That's just mean. Here's what you could have had, but nope, not for you. You get strawberries in orange juice.

We sliced the strawberries and squeezed oranges over them. Somewhere along the line, the chef added yogurt to it, but I didn't see that part. Then we started chopping for the gazpacho. Pretty simple. Chop a bunch of vegetables and puree half of them, then mix the rest of the chunky stuff with the pureed stuff, add some seasonings and you are done. He did give us some great tips on chopping without cutting off your fingers. While we chopped and made the gazpacho, he made the fish, which looked good, but I totally missed what he was doing to it to make it good because I was busy making the gazpacho.

After about 45 minutes of chopping and mixing, we were ready to eat. The chef showed us how to plate the food and we all ate together at a long table. So. The gazpacho was good. Not great. It was too raw, I think or too chunky. Something. The fish was good. The strawberries were good. Not great. While we were eating, the chef talked about how we could alter the strawberries, not to be more diabetic friendly, but how to make them more tasty. Such as adding Cointreau, whip cream, Frangelico, cake, shortcake, chocolate, etc. It sounded good. But I could have thought those evil thoughts on my own. I don't need a chef to tell me that.

What I needed was a chef to give me general tips on diabetic cooking, such as, when you have a recipe that calls for abc, you can do xyz to alter the recipe and still have it taste good. That's what I wanted. Instead I got three altered recipes that (by the chef's own admission) I can make more tasty with salt, butter, whip cream and cake. And I probably will.

***P.S. I feel kind of bad. These people were all really nice and knowledgeable. And I think what they are doing with their clinic is awesome. I just think me and their cooking classes are not going to be BFFs. That's all. But totally go support their clinic because it's cool and where else can you get cooking classes, acupuncture and psychopharmacology (I don't actually know what that is, but I like saying it over and over because it sounds cool and makes me sound smart when I include it in conversation) in one place? Um hi. Nowhere.


allison said...

This is why I don't take any cooking classes - I can't stand the idea of paying someone to tell me something totally obvious!