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So I did something I’ve never done before last week.

I took a cooking class.

It was great.

Funny, you might think I know how to cook. After all, I write about food every Wednesday and have for more than 20 years. (July 25, 1997 to be exact, but who’s counting?)

But it’s never too late to try to teach a very old dog new tricks.

One might wonder how many small kitchen appliances a single person with a very small dog needs.

Apparently, always one more.

So it was that I succumbed — once again — to the addiction of shopping on television and ordering on the phone in the early spring.

It came, I unwrapped it, read the manual, which I did not understand at all, and immediately placed it carefully on a shelf, where it remained — for months.

When Memorial Day arrived and there were no perfect plans, I decided it was time to stop being afraid and use it. I did, and the results were terribly disappointing, even though I followed the instructions exactly.

So back to the shelf it went.

And then everyone’s favorite extension lady, Karla Case, wrote a note, saying that she was branching out and starting her own cooking school, called Kitchen Social, in a space right downtown.

Because I strongly believe in karma or fate or — hey Sal, you got this for a reason — the first class she promoted was Instant Pot cooking. Instantly, I was in.

The class cost less than a tank of gas and used two evening hours (plus an hour drive time, but that’s my fault).

The class attracted 13 students and one young girl who accompanied her mom.

I learned a ton and am no longer afraid.

So there are several lessons to be learned, most of which apply in life as well as in the kitchen.

Being afraid is not productive. Being afraid makes one stay awake for four hours at a stretch in the blackest hours of night, praying over and over to relax enough and stop thinking of all the bad things that could happen in order to fall asleep. Being afraid is pointless.

Admitting you don’t know everything is the first step to learning. A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed a saintly woman whose job, along with others, is to give nontraditional learners the gift of high school equivalency.

Talk about being afraid and then admitting you don’t know everything — her students are the perfect example of that. It doesn’t matter why they didn’t finish high school traditionally. What matters is that they are now taking steps to correct that.

So whether your job is to teach giggly women how to make spaghetti and meat sauce (all at the same time!) and apple crisp in an electric pot — or guiding learners who know they need to obtain high school equivalency — I salute you.

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Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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