Angelo Pellegrini didn't need to read books or take a class to learn how to make wine or pasta or grow herbs. Without being aware of it, he'd absorbed all that from his family his whole life. Some of us, though, could use some instruction, whether from books or YouTube or an actual class. And right now, L.A. has a wealth of ways to learn about food crafts.
Here are a few of the venues where you can learn to make jam, bake bread, make mustard or kraut and even butcher.
Brassica and Brine: The L.A.-based micro craft food business specializing in wild-fermented foods (kraut and kimchi mostly) offers classes in pickling and fermentation sporadically. Sign up for its newsletter on the website to get first notice. 16935 Vanowen St., Unit F, Van Nuys, www.brassicaandbrine.com, email@example.com
Food Forward: Two classes in Food Forward's annual Foodsteader tour remain: Making Primitive Beer From Wild Plants, with Pascal Baudar of Urban Outdoor Skills, and Pig Butchering, with Lindy & Grundy, $110. You can also sign up to participate in the organization's farmers market gleanings, collecting boxes of fresh produce from local farmers to donate to various direct-service agencies for the needy. foodforward.org/classes
Institute of Domestic Technology: Classes in a variety of subjects — tofu making, pickle crafting, bacon curing, home coffee roasting, bread baking or cheese making — are held at either the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills or the historic Zane Grey Estate in Altadena. Most are $195 for a one-day workshop that includes ingredients, supplies and tastings or snacks. Instructors include master food preservers and authors Joseph Shuldiner and Kevin West and cheese makers Steve Rudicel and Gloria Putnam. instituteofdomestictechnology.com/blogs/press
Los Angeles Bread Bakers: This organization of dedicated amateur bakers hosts occasional, affordable classes in bread baking. There's a sourdough workshop coming up on July 20 in Los Angeles, $35, but it's already sold out. The group also does bread-making demonstrations at farmers markets and hosts "mobile wood-fired oven bakes" (bring your dough and bake it) at Grist & Toll in Pasadena and the Altadena farmers market. Sometimes star bakers, such as Dave Miller of Miller's Bake House in Chico or Craig Ponsford of Artisan Bakers in Sonoma, will give intensive workshops when they're in town. These are more expensive, about $195. For more information, check the group's Meetup page: www.meetup.com/Los-Angeles-Bread-Bakers.
Red Bread: At this Culver City bakery devoted to wild-yeasted sourdough breads, Rosie Lawrence teaches the occasional two-hour class called Fermentation Fervor, $100 (but a portion of the fee is donated to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank). Students will ferment seasonal vegetables in a salt brine, liquid brine and salt-free brine. Other classes she has taught include Wild Yeast Starter, A Country Loaf, Perfect Pie and Kick Out the Jam. 13322 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, (424) 272-5752, www.thebreadisread.com
Sqirl: Jam maker extraordinaire Jessica Koslow occasionally teaches three-hour classes in making luscious preserves from local fruit. Check her website for dates and times. Class, $100. 720 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 284-8147, sqirlla.com
UC Cooperative Extension: So many people are interested in home food preservation that UC Extension has revived the master food preserver certification course for Los Angeles residents. Like the master gardener program, this demands serious commitment. The training consists of 12 weekly classes. Master food preserver volunteers also offer food preservation classes throughout the year. The cost and location vary. For more information, check its website, ucanr.edu/blogs/MFPLA/index.cfm, or Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MFPLA/timeline.