Before our current difficulties, cooks could have wildly differing opinions on technology in the kitchen. While some might like to deck out their counter with more flashing lights than a George Lucas set, others prefer to take a more rudimentary approach. You could fight for hours over which produces better results.
However, one thing that even the most Luddite chef would struggle to argue with is that present circumstances are made infinitely more bearable with the addition of tech. Cooking something is one thing. Being able to talk to friends and family on the other side of the world as you do it is something else entirely. This is why one Italian business could be the cure we need to get us through this crisis.
Based about an hour north of Rome, Nonna Live is a cooking class like no other. Originally made famous as a much-vaunted Airbnb Experience, the programme offers face to face pasta instruction from an 84-year-old Italian expert. The twist is that students can now sign up to have the class beamed straight into their own kitchen.
For $50, you can enjoy virtual face-to-face instruction in authentic Italian pasta from bonafide specialist Nonna Nerina, without worrying about travelling to Europe. Classes include everything from complete recipes, to ingredient lists and insider hints and tips. As the Nonna Live website explains:
“In this 2 hour live streaming experience, you will connect with Nonna Nerina and her granddaughter Chiara as they walk you through a mouth watering cooking experience of their favorite family recipes in the comfort of your own home!”
“A week before your class, you'll receive a shopping list of ingredients to buy and a link to an Amazon store front for any utensils you may need to cook with. Not to worry -- we keep it simple, you probably already have all the things you need in your kitchen!”
Check out our recipe for a Giant Chicken Carbonara Raviolo:
“As we get closer to the big day, you'll receive notes from Nonna Nerina (translated of course) to help you get ready for the experience.”
“Each recipe we cook will be from our own family going back generations and we will send you some of our favorite wine pairing suggestions should you be so inclined!”
The website notes that though Nonna Nerina herself is only available for weekend slots, weekday classes are available with her grandchild Chiara. Recipes include “Ravioli with Butter Sage Sauce”, “Gnocchi with Pesto” and “Fettuccine with Tomato Sauce”, and classes can also be bought as a gift for others.
The joy of food is as much in the sharing as it is the eating. Obviously, our current situation necessitates that cooks spend much more time considering the latter than the former. However, just because we face months of meal-time isolation doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a shared food experience. Say what you like about technology in the kitchen - in this case, the benefits speak for themselves.