Friday, December 26, 2014

POSTED: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 5:04 PM
Samiek Miller, 11, sprinkles cheese on top of the tuna melts, one of the final steps before they're placed in the oven to bake. Behind him, Dayanna Shomo, 11, works on the zucchini fries. (ANDREW THAYER / Staff Photographer)

The new commercial kitchen at the Free Library of Philadelphia is, by far, the most beautiful, tricked-out kitchen in which I've ever cooked.

We made lovely meals in the simple convent kitchen at St. Martin de Porres in North Philadelphia when the after-school cooking program began in 2012, and then in the public school cafeteria kitchens the following fall and spring.

As the program grew over the last two years, with volunteers cooking in schools in Philadelphia and Camden, some classes made feasts with just an electric frying pan.

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 5:04 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 4:58 PM
Fresh from the oven, the tuna melts - and a few bean-mash melts - are ready for the hungry first-time chefs from Russell Byers Charter School. (Andrew Thayer / Staff Photographer)

Makes 6 servings

6 English muffins, whole-grain if available

12-ounce can albacore tuna packed in water, drained

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POSTED: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 4:50 PM
Dipped in egg whites and bread crumbs, the zucchini fries are placed on a cooking sheet by Dayanna Shomo.


Makes 6 side-dish servings

2 medium zucchini (cutting instructions below)

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 4:50 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 12:18 PM

Seventy-five schoolchildren will be learning how to slice onions, cook pasta, roast vegetables, and make dinners like stuffed peppers and homemade tomato soup this fall as My Daughter's Kitchen cooking program continues to expand and evolve in its fourth season.

The mission remains the same as when the lessons began with my own daughter: teaching kids to cook simple, healthful, delicious meals on a budget.

Thirty-two volunteers - most of them Inquirer readers who wrote in after reading about the program - will begin teaching 15 afterschool classes around the city and across the river in Camden.

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 12:18 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, June 13, 2014, 3:24 PM
Kimberly Luu (right) and her sister Kathy Luu, 9, (second from right) reach for sauce in front of their mother My Luong and classmate Nicholas Rodriguez (left)as they sit down for meal of Pho at Lawton school June 4, 2014. (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer)

For 10 weeks, since our after-school cooking classes began at Lawton Elementary, Kimberly Luu had been talking about having her mom come in to make her favorite soup, the Vietnamese rice noodle soup called pho.

But it was never entirely clear her mom was on board. "I think she wants to, I'm not sure," Kim would say.

It turns out, it wasn't the soup her mom was hesitant about. It was explaining how to make it - in English.

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POSTED: Friday, June 13, 2014, 3:20 PM
My Luong used meatballs in her pho for the students after finding out that many Americans order it that way at her favorite Vietnamese restaurant. (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer)

 Makes 8 servings

 For the broth:

 2 onions, halved

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 3:20 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, June 13, 2014, 3:15 PM
(L-R) My Daughters Kiitchen participants Christian McKinney, Kimberly Luu, Aneza Abalo, Nysirah Hall and Nick Rodriguez show off their achievement medals after cooking the family dinner at Henry Lawton School in Phila. on May 28, 2014. (ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer)

Even though the party didn't start till 5 p.m., Christian McKinney's grandmother and younger brother were waiting in the lobby of Lawton Elementary School at 3.

"Do you want to help in the kitchen?" I asked Brandon, 9.

"Me? he said with incredulous delight. "Mom-mom, Mom-mom, I get to help cook!" he cried, literally jumping up and down.

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 3:15 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 29, 2014, 6:58 PM
Nick Rodriguez puts the chicken parcels in the oven at the Henry Lawton School. (ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer)

'Do you know what processed food is?" I asked the fifth graders at Henry Lawton Elementary, where I've been teaching cooking classes.

I had just seen Fed Up, the heartbreaking documentary on America's addiction to processed food, and I felt compelled to talk about it.

"It's fake food," said Nick Rodriguez.

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 6:58 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

Maureen Fitzgerald, Inquirer food editor, has been cooking dinner for 30 years. Her blog started with teaching her daughter, but has been continuing for the past two years with school children, this fall with fifth graders from Russell Byers Charter in Phila. The program continues to expand with 32 volunteers teaching 75 children in 15 classes this fall in Phila and Camden, in partnership with the Vetri Foundation for Children.

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