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Anne Smith's Best Random Thoughts by a Cooking School Owner/Environmentalist

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Anne Smith is the owner of the New School of Cooking in Culver City (which just happens to be a favorite of this LAist), which offers classes for everyone, from beginning to advanced. An aficianado of all things culinary, Smith is also interested in promoting sustainable agriculture, supporting local farmers and reducing our carbon imprint. She recently launched a blog that companions the School's website, and she has also offered us her top ten thoughts about cooking, eating, and making efforts to live a little more green. Words to the wise for those of us with a pen poised to write out our New Year's Resolutions...

1. Best place to get started if you don’t know how to cook at all:
Take a knife skills class. Offered at least once a month, there is no better way to get organized in the kitchen or start to learn proper technique. http://newschoolofcooking.com. 310 842 9702 8690 Washington Boulevard Culver City 90232.

2. Best way find great local produce and support small farms:
Go to your local farmer’s market. With demand on the rise, there are markets sprinkled all over the city literally every day of the week. Nothing will get you better acquainted with what’s in season and who has the best goods than a trip to your local farmer’s market.
http://www.farmernet.com/events/cfms

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3. Best way to support small farms if you can’t get to the farmer’s market:
Eat at Tender Greens. Chefs Erik Oberholtzer and Matt Lyman are partners in organic Scarborough Farms so they are able to get the best produce to the table within hours of harvesting. 9523 Culver Blvd. Culver City CA 90232. 310 842 8300. http://tendergreensfood.com If you don’t live near Culver City, there are several other restaurants in town who promote and support sustainable agriculture and local purveyors. Do a google search.

4. Best scrambled eggs:
Ammo. I love everything about Ammo. The restaurant combines a wonderful atmosphere with kind service and exceptional and affordable food. They emphasize local, seasonal ingredients and sustainable agriculture. Delicious for brunch, lunch and dinner, and I really did have the best scrambled eggs ever cooked by a restaurant just last week.
323 467 3293 1155 N. Highland Ave. LA 90038. http://ammocafe.com

5. Best little way to do something big for the environment:
Stop buying imported water. Water from Fiji, France and the Italian Alps is delicious, but water is heavy and getting it here requires fossil fuels that we do not need to burn. Buy local, or better yet, filter your water and pour it into a Nalgene water bottle. Then you’re both saving gas and reducing your plastic consumption.

6. Second best little way to do something big:
If you aren't cooking at home: eat out, don't take out! Try to reduce your footprint by rejecting unnecessary plastic bags, to-go containers and thick plastic cutlery that ends up on our beaches and all over the land.

7. Best place to shop for wine:
The Wine House! With a vast inventory and experts in French, Italian, Spanish, American and every other kind of wine, there is no better place to find what you are looking for than the Wine House. They also have wonderful classes so you can learn how to choose wine, how to pair wine with food and so much more. 2311 Cotner Ave. LA 90064 310 479 3731. http://www.winehouse.com

8. Best way to drop some easy pounds:
Eat whole foods. Processed and fakey low fat foods are both unsatisfying and difficult for your system to process, making them stick to your ribs. You are better off eating butter than margarine and eating the occasional homemade cookie than Smart Well's every day. Also drink a lot of water and say NO to Diet Coke! You'll be surprised how quickly you look and feel better.

9. Best way to shop for fish:
Check the Monterey Bay Aquarium seasonally to make choices for healthy oceans. You can go to http://www.mbayaq.org/cr/seafoodwatch.asp and download a regional seafood guide that will give you the most current lists of fish and seafood that are harvested in a sustainable way. THEN go to Santa Monica seafood to find the freshest fish in town.

10. Best way to serve a buffet:
Use tongs. When your guests have a plate in one hand, it is cumbersome to have to set the plate down, pick up salad fork and spoon and serve themselves. Most foods are much easier to serve with tongs. Of course, don't serve your mashed potatoes with tongs. Happy New Year!