Cooking with Pepper

Pepper is taking a cooking course this semester – The Everyday Gourmet, offered through The Great Courses. She just completed lesson three, which means she’s spent the past two weeks studying two things – kitchen equipment and cutting techniques. Her first “assignment” was to make a vegetable bean soup. That was last week. This week, she made Ratatouille – that vegetable casserole made famous by the cooking rat. Pepper said the entire time she was prepping the vegetables, she was thinking about that movie and wondering where her little rat helper was.

She certainly could have used one. Both weeks, she’s spent a lot of time chopping vegetables. Which makes sense – that’s what the lessons have been about. But, for someone who isn’t a vegetable fan and who hasn’t done a lot of work with kitchen knives, I’m sure it’s been a bit tedious.


She’s kept her sense of humor, though. She thought that these peppers looked like Greek drama masks.


I can see it.

So here is the ratatouille just before Pepper put a lid on it to simmer.


Colorful, joyful, “a celebration of the bounty of the summer garden” (which is what the chef who teaches Pepper’s course called the dish).


And, here is the same photo with the Prisma App.


(You knew I was going to squeeze that in somehow, right?)

And, here is the ratatouille on a plate, served with French bread and a fried egg – the way the chef suggested we present it.


The verdict? Weeellllll….maybe I’m not the one to ask. I really liked it, but then I like vegetables. I think I could develop a taste for this dish if I had it more often. The rest of the family, though, wasn’t sold on the whole “vegetable stew” thing. They were game to give it a try and said that it tasted decent for what it was (stewed vegetables), but then they spent the rest of the meal filling up on eggs and bread.

Pepper is looking forward to next week, when she will leave vegetable chopping behind and learn something about cooking chicken.

In the meantime, I’ll be eating ratatouille for lunch for the rest of the week.

From the dining room table, still not sure what to think about eggplant,

Mrs. Smythe

10 Comments on “Cooking with Pepper

    • Ha! I told Pepper that a lot of people thought the dish looked really good. I think as the kids get older, they’ll start to appreciate vegetables more. At least I hope that is what will happen. 🙂

  1. Good for Pepper!! and it looks delicious! I would have loved it!

    • We’re all really learning a lot with this course. This week is chicken marsala. I’m really excited – both to make it and to eat it. 🙂

  2. Oh-oh better cover the ears of the chickens out in the coop. Tee-hee. BTW, I love the Prisma App effects

  3. One of my girls worked through that course last year. She is pretty awesome and confident now, and makes some awesome gnocchi. Some meals were more of a hit than others, but over all I’d declare it worth while.

    • I’m so glad you shared this Lucy. I was wondering if any other home schoolers were using these programs. Pepper can’t wait for pasta week.