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Cook sumptuous meals and duck out on dish duty at Wooden Spoon

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Food is good for the soul. Well-cooked food in an outright balm. And well-cooked food you made yourself is an outright blessing.

The Wooden Spoon, located on 5047 N. Clark Street in the Andersonville area, is an excellent location to buy the cooking supplies and tools you need to make meals, and a space where customers can attend weekly classes to learn how to make special kinds of dishes with special kinds of techniques.

Wooden Spoon is a family business, owned by Trina and Sean Sheridan. As the story on their website goes, the two decided to open their cooking shop in 2001, to supply high quality cookware and host classes where students could learn culinary arts from professionals in an open environment.

The exterior of the store is bright and inviting, marked by a nine foot long wooden spoon that hangs outside the main entrance. Inside, there is a plethora of equipment for sale, including plates, dishes, cheese graters, strainers, food processors, oven mitts, knives, and knife sharpeners, as well as lots of wooden spoons.

In the back is a curved, oblong table with a sink and hard countertops, where cooking tools are demonstrated for curious customers, and where weekly cooking classes are held. As employees at the store put it, prospective students “pick a day or menu that appeals to them”, learn how to cook specific dishes of food at said classes, and then enjoy the 'fruits of their labor.' All the dishwashing and cleanup is taken care of by staff assistants, and in fine restaurant tradition, customers can “bring their own bottle” of wine or beer.

The classes vary in both cost and duration: the cheapest and shortest course offered is “Knife Skills”, hosted by local chef Mike Chapter; for $40 per person, he teaches students carving, slicing, dicing and mincing techniques over the course of two and a half hours, and sharpens the knives you bring to class.

The rest of the classes, costing around $75 per person, are about anything and everything. One class is all about how to cook with whiskey, while another is themed around dishes that cook to a golden brown color, such as yeast dough, cheesy chicken and so on. Still more classes teach the ins and outs of cooking cultural dishes from different countries. If there's a cuisine you want to learn about, you'll probably be able to find a class about it.

At the Wooden Spoon, experienced chefs can get the supplies they need, and novices can pick up the special secrets of crafting food. Considering how friendly and soothing the act of making and sharing food is, it's only appropriate that the Wooden Spoon is a friendly and open environment for all.

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