Young Scholars Douglass
We were supposed to have guests for our last cooking class, but the children's parents had work commitments or other obligations and the teachers and administrators were involved with other after-school activities.
I knew I had a battle ahead of me for our next-to-last cooking class with fifth graders at Bayard Taylor Elementary School in North Philadelphia - and it wasn't with the kids.
Throughout our lessons over the last nine weeks, we had been fighting with our electric oven and all its digital bells and whistles. The thing seemed to have a mind of its own; its ability to hold a consistent temperature was as unpredictable as a moody teenager.
But I was determined to teach the kids this simple recipe for baked chicken thighs and potatoes because, with a working oven, it's such an easy family dinner - just prep and pop in the oven - and it appeals to even finicky eaters. And chicken thighs are so affordable, even Bianca Perez made note of the bargain family pack of eight thighs for $4: "Wow, that's a good price!" she said.
Chicken Baked with Red Onions, Potatoes and Rosemary
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Young Scholars Douglass
The children learned what a whole bulb of garlic looked like (as compared to a clove of garlic). We showed the girls how to take the papery skin off the garlic cloves.
'This looks like fish food," said Mark Ramirez, when he opened the bag of lentils we would be using to make soup. "Or the stuff you feed the ducks at the zoo."
None of the fifth graders in the cooking class at Bayard Taylor Elementary School in North Philadelphia had ever had lentils.
Wissahickon Charter School
We divided up the tasks: cutting carrots, garlic, parsley, and onions, rinsing lentils, and stirring both the vegetable saute and the soup. We also had a salad with sliced apples, raisin, nut and sunflower seed mix, onions, and red leaf lettuce. We did have some extra time so we looked at a color-coded graphic that shows how healthy meals contain vegetables and fruit on about half of the plate, the other half is divided into one-fourth protein, one-fourth whole grains. Students will try to design a healthy menu from favorite foods or food we have cooked in class.
We ate the soup out of the best bargain bowls I could find: a set of storage containers with lids. The kids were elated to take home leftovers in their very own bowls. The Abruzzese Lentil Soup was very well received. The grated Parmesan, a popular addition to many of our recipes, added to the appeal. It may well be the most popular of all of the recipes so far.
Dear Maureen Fitzgerald,
I have never written to a newspaper columnist before, but I felt the need to tell you how much I am enjoying your articles about the kids learning cooking (and eating) skills. The articles are so uplifting. I look forward to following these culinary adventures every week. What I really feel in these columns is what is so lacking in other articles and in our world in general: it is all about love! Thank you so much for what you are giving and for sharing it with the rest of us.
Sincerely, Barbara Jaffe