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I'm a lousy cook, but my girlfriend insists that I cook her dinner every once in a while. I'm worried that if I keep on making mac n' cheese or turkey sandwiches, she'll leave me. Any suggestions on where I can learn a few skills?

F, Greenwich Village

In a city with as many food options as New York, there is not shortage of instructors available to help you become, if not a master chef, then at least someone who knows that real mac and cheese shouldn't be orange.

One place to start is The Insitute of Culinary Education (50 W 23rd Street b/w 5th and 6th Avenues). Their recreational division offers classes in everything from classic Tuscan meals and the art of French cooking to wine appreciation and cupcakes. Professional, friendly instructors make learning easy. Even the leftovers you bring home from class will help you score points with your girlfriend.

The New School and The Art Institue of New York City also offer cooking classes.

This might seem like an expensive proposition, but let's do a little math. If you factor in an educated and professional instructor, superb facilities that are probably 100 times the size of your galley kitchen, and access to as many pots and pans as you need, signing up for a class is a good value. Ask Gothamist just took a five hour class for $85 at ICE. Consider the fact that you'll be using high quality ingredients that might cost you an arm and a leg at Garden of Eden or Whole Foods, and your inner Emeril will get a lot of "Bam!" for his buck.

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