Central Piedmont Community College is offering its 2013 Charlotte Cooks spring series of culinary courses. Classes range from old favorites like knife skills and ethnic foods Chinese, Indian, Mexican and Thai to new offerings like Delightful Small Desserts, Real Desserts for Diabetics and Pasta Extravaganza. Course costs vary according to hours, field trips and supplies. Details and to register: 704-330-4223; bit.ly/JUKH4a.
Polka Dot offers King Cakes
Polka Dot Bake Shop is accepting orders for King Cakes through Feb. 12. The New Orleans staple represents the three kings who brought gifts to the baby Jesus and marks the Mardi Gras season, which ends on Fat Tuesday (Feb. 12). Each King Cake is topped with sugar in the Mardi Gras colors of purple (representing justice), green (faith) and gold (power). According to tradition, whoever receives the plastic baby baked into each cake which represents baby Jesus is the one to buy the next King Cake. Each cake serves 12-15 people and is $29.
King cakes are available by pre-order only: 704-523-5001. Other details: www.polkadotbakeshop.com.
46th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off
On her Ill Bite blog on obsbite.blogspot.com, Observer Food Editor Kathleen Purvis writes about the redesigned contest and its split into three recipe categories: Amazing Doable Dinners, Simple Sweets and Starters, and Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts. Dinners is the only category open to entries now, and submissions must be received by Feb. 7. Online voting in this category will be March 14-28. The entry period for Sweets is April 4-May 9 (online voting June 13-27), and Breakfast entries will be accepted July 4-Aug. 8 (online voting Sept. 12-26.) Contest finals will be Nov. 10-12 in Las Vegas.
Details and to enter: www.bakeoff.com.
Sweet potato rolls
Sweet potato rolls are the newest artisan bread offered by Alexia Foods. Each roll has 8 grams of whole grains and can go from freezer to table in less than 20 minutes.
Its worth noting the company uses North Carolina sweet potatoes, and these rolls suggested retail of $3.89 are available at Harris Teeter. Details: www.alexiafoods.com.
Eating for productivity
Queen City Forward is introducing Lunchbox to Toolbox, a new series focused on health and wellness for the social entrepreneur. This months free session is What to Eat to Empower Your Productivity, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday at Queen City Forward, 222 S. Church St., Suite 100. The session will be led by Kaliana, an emotional care author and consultant with more than 30 years of experience. Details and to register: queencityforward.org or www.kaliana.com.
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