In these days of staying home, it seems we are all using Zoom or FaceTime to stay in touch with family and friends, right? I have used FaceTime when I’ve wanted to virtually visit with family and friends, but had never even heard of Zoom before the pandemic forced us all into our homes. Zoom to me was a PBS show that I used to watch as a kid in the early 70’s. I can still hear the theme song now “Come on and Zoom, zoom, zoom a zoom . . .” and the address to write (or, more importantly, to apply to audition for the cast) is indelibly etched in my brain – PO Box 350, Boston 0-2-1-3-4, because I was obsessed with wanting to be on the show. I mastered Bernadette’s swinging arm trick and had ideas of how my own intro would go. To my major disappointment, my mother said it was too far to the studio, so I missed my moment to be a childhood television star.

I have since become adept at Zoom (I mean, if my 7 year old nephew, Timmy Lynch, can master it, then I should be able to do it, right?) and we’ve since had family visits for Easter and Mothers Day, as well as happy hours with friends, board meetings, etc.. I had not, however, thought about doing a cooking class by Zoom until I received an email from my friend, Tim Liston, at Big Shoulders Fund. Tim asked if I had time to talk about an idea that Josh had pitched to him. Josh, being Josh Hale, a good friend, the CEO of Big Shoulders, and a fellow transplanted New Englander is like the Energizer Bunny and very difficult to say no to. I knew he and his wife, Virginia, had been following my cooking adventures on Instagram and on my blog, but since his most recent “idea” was to provide 18,000 meals (yes, that’s thousand with 3 zeros) to families for Mothers Day, I was a little worried about what he had in mind.

When Tim pitched the idea of a cooking class for the Big Shoulders family, I was game, as it was both in keeping with what we had been talking about at our board meetings, encouraging creative ways to keep people connected to the mission and each other, as well as consistent with my current mindset of #trysomethingnew. I was also going to fulfill my childhood dream of being a star on Zoom!! We came up with a game plan, selected a date, and Dennis agreed to be my cameraman. Next up was to come up with a menu, recipe and shopping list for everyone. The trick was selecting a recipe that was accessible for both novices and seasoned cooks, could be prepared in about 30 minutes and didn’t contain hard to procure ingredients. I decided to go with the Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccolini, since it only required 8 ingredients and could easily be adjusted for a larger family. I had also received feedback from some friends who had successfully made it, so was confident it could be well executed.

Kicking off with a virtual clink of our glasses, we were on our way. We had so much fun . . . lots of laughs, Zoom bombs by kids and spouses, and pure enjoyment of being together even if only virtually. Hopefully everyone learned a little something, but we all thoroughly enjoyed just being together and creating a tasty meal. It was great feedback for me, and I’ve incorporated what I learned into the recipe notes. The verdict, it was a hit with just about everyone, even the kids, with the exception of one 7 year old who thought it was too spicy. My friend and CAC co-chair, Joe, was not able to attend due a last minute work obligation, and I know he had been really looking forward to it. As one of my biggest supporters and first blog followers, I couldn’t let him miss out entirely, so I did a drive by and delivered our leftovers for him to enjoy on Friday. His report “pasta heaven”. He’s now on the list for weekly meals – it pays to be a fan!


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