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.
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.
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.
Makes 6 side-dish servings
4 medium sweet potatoes, well washed, cut in half, then cut into thick fries
We had a lot on our plates for our final cooking class at Bayard Taylor Elementary in North Philadelphia, especially for fifth-grade cooks: We were preparing dinner for their families, cooking the favorite recipes from the ones they had learned. Each of the five children had invited two guests. At least that was the plan.
Somehow, we ended up with three younger siblings in the kitchen: Kareema Brown's younger sister, Kiara, 10, and the little brother and sister of Yariel Fernandez, Bryan, 9, and Yarianna, 7. And Bryan, a high-energy boy, was already running laps around the prep area.
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.