Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, April 17, 2014, 12:18 PM
Nysirah Hall peels a sweet potato to make sweet potato and carrot soup while Aneza Abaldo watches at Henry Lawton School. (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)

It's not enough to get kids to just fork down their vegetables. I want them to embrace carrots and onions and peas, to get excited about green beans and sweet potatoes and beets.

So my plan for the fourth cooking class at Henry Lawton Elementary School was to take familiar vegetables and prepare them in an unfamiliar way.

I chose a soup made with onion, carrots, and sweet potatoes to demonstrate how different vegetables can feel in your mouth when made a certain way, in this case, all blended together; and how different they can taste when seasoned with spices, in this case curry and paprika.

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 12:18 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, April 17, 2014, 12:15 PM
Christian McKinney wears the goggles while he cutsup an onion. (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup With Beans

Makes 6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 12:15 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, April 10, 2014, 11:40 AM
Inquirer food editor Maureen Fitzgerald demonstrates how to assemble a turkey lettuce wrap to Henry Lawton Elementary School fifth grade students Kimberly Luu, Nysirah Hall, Aneza Abalo and Nicholas Rodriguez. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )

I should have known, when the sun was shining brightly on the first perfect spring afternoon after so many wicked winter days, that it would be tough for 10-year-olds to focus on cooking.

On top of that, my fifth grade chefs had just completed six days of PSSA testing at Henry Lawton Elementary and they were having a hard time standing still, much less concentrating on one recipe - let alone two.

Frankly, it would have been a good day to make scrambled eggs.

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 11:40 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, April 10, 2014, 11:36 AM
The turkey wraps and corn with tomatoes and edamame beans were big hits with the cooking class. The students also learned that recipes can be adjusted to individual preferences. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Makes 6 servings

3 tablespoons low- sodium soy sauce

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 11:36 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Friday, April 4, 2014, 3:03 PM
At Henry Lawton School , (from left) Nysirah Hall, Kimberly Luu, and Aneza Abalo read their recipe. ED HILLE / Staff Photographer

Even before the others had shed their backpacks and donned their aprons, Nick Rodriguez, 10, was smashing a clove of garlic, slamming his fist on the flat side of a knife, at our second cooking class at Henry Lawton Elementary. Yes, he said, without looking up, he had already peeled it.

"Hey! I want a turn!" said Christian McKinney, 11, feeling like he was missing out.

"Hang on, guys," I said. While I was thrilled with the enthusiasm and the smashing skill retained from class the week before, I wanted to remind them to read the entire recipe before plowing in.

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 3:03 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Friday, April 4, 2014, 2:55 PM
The end result - tortellini minestrone soup.

 Makes 8 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 2:55 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, March 27, 2014, 12:02 PM
Christian McKinney crushes nutmeg as Kimblerly Luu watches in the kitchen at Henry W. Lawton School in Tacony, one of 10 schools in an after-school program with 20 volunteers teaching 50 children to cook. DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer

My Daughter's Kitchen has taken on a life of its own!

What started as a blog to help my daughter do more of her own cooking has turned into an after-school program with 20 volunteers in 10 schools teaching 50 children to cook this spring.

What started as a lament that cooking has become a lost art, and then a challenge to come up with easy, healthy, cheap recipes, evolved a year ago into cooking classes at St. Martin de Porres in North Philadelphia.

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 12:02 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, March 27, 2014, 11:57 AM
Christian McKinney (left) and Nick Rodriguez start making the buttermilk chicken batter. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer)

As I walked through the front door at Henry W. Lawton School with five students in tow, all of us lugging pots and pans and bags of groceries, the school police officer stopped us cold.

"Hey, hey, wait a minute," said Raymond Mahon, getting up from his desk and blocking our passage. "What's all this? Where are you going?"

"Cooking class," I said, explaining that I had checked in earlier before retrieving the children to help me carry stuff from my car.

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 11:57 AM  Permalink | 0
About this blog

Maureen Fitzgerald, Inquirer food editor, has been cooking for 30 years. Her blog started with her daughter, but has been continuing for the past year with school children, this spring with fifth graders at Henry Lawton Elementary in Philadelphia. The program has expanded to 10 schools, with 20 volunteers working with a total of 50 urban children. The program is partnering with the Vetri Foundation for Children and Brown’s Shop Rite is providing the food.

Reach My Daughter's at mfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

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