I don't know if you are familiar with the Chicago Tribune "Cooking
School Guide", published in August of last year. I found it to be very
useful in aswering your question. Here's the link (to view the Guide
you will probably have to register as a user of the Tribune site,
which can be done fast and easily, as I discovered):
The Guide's listing that seemed to me most suitable for you is the following:
Cook from Scratch: Bridget Weis-Urbain conducts classes in Chicago and
Oak Park area. Classes include simple knife skills, stock your
freezer, basic baking and cooking. Sessions in client's home
available. Also available: lunch-hour demonstrations, special events,
private lessons. $35-$75. 312-559-0052 or cookfromscratch.com.
I am a bit concered that neither of these locations may be close
enough for you, but I am hoping the the West Looo one might be easily
accessed from where you live. You will notice that Cook from Scratch,
like many others in the Guide, offer private lessons in your home.
It's something you might want to consider if you are willing to pay
more for the in-your-own-home convenience.
I found only one listing for Evanston in the Guide:
Julie Chernoff, 1837 Asbury Ave., Evanston. Classes explore "Get Back
in the Kitchen" in 2-hour demonstrations (some hands-on) followed by
lunch with wine. Themes include farmers markets, Southwestern flavors,
holiday side dishes. Fees: $45 for 1 class up to $160 for 4. Also
cooking class parties for adults and Kids Cook! classes and children's
cooking parties. $25 per child, 8 and older; $40 per child/parent
But Cook from Scratch sounds more like what you're looking for, doesn't it?
Another you might want to consider is:
The Chopping Block, 1324 W. Webster Ave., offers classes for all
levels. Topics include knife skills, flavor dynamics, hands-on tapas.
Second location opening this fall in Lincoln Square. $50-$100;
773-472-6700 or thechoppingblock.net.
I also tried to survey local community colleges adult/continuing
education courses for an "Intro to Cooking" course, but I drew a
blank. However, you might try calling Kennedy-King College, which
operates the Washburne Culinary Institute. Perhaps they offer some
non-credit courses for persons such as yourselves. The main number for
the college is (773)602-5000. Ask for the Continuing Education office.