Wednesday, September 2, 2015

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.

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 3:24 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
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
POSTED: Thursday, May 29, 2014, 6:53 PM
Nysirah Hall's poached chicken and roasted broccoli she cooked at Henry Lawton School in Phila. on May 21, 2014. (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)

Poached Chicken

Makes 6 servings

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2½ pounds) tender removed, cut into thirds

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 6:53 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 29, 2014, 6:49 PM
Students (from left) Nysira Hall, Kimberley Luu, and Nicholas Rodriguez get their coconut fish curry from teacher Maureen Fitzgerald. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)

The first one to burst through the door for after-school cooking class at Lawton Elementary - as usual - is Christian McKinney, this week sporting a fresh mohawkish buzz-cut.

He wastes no time: he glances at the recipe, sizes up the ingredients on the stainless steel prep table, and starts right in, peeling, then chopping the garlic. If I didn't insist that he save some jobs for the others, he might get through most of the work before they even arrive.

"Nick is so excited for the fish curry today," he said. "What kind of fish are we cooking?"

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 6:49 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 29, 2014, 6:45 PM
The fish curry on the stove. It introduced some of the kids to salmon and coconut.

 Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

Maureen Fitzgerald @ 6:45 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

The mission. To teach schoolchildren to cook healthy, easy meals on a budget.

The reach. Volunteers are teaching 20 classes in Philadelphia and Camden, with intent to expand.

The partner. Vetri Foundation shares the goal of encouraging healthy eating for children.

To support. Send donations to Vetri Foundation for Children, 1113 Admiral Peary Way, Quarters N, Philadelphia 19112; note "My Daughter's Kitchen" or go to

To participate. Submit recipes to be considered: Simple, 500-calorie, nutritious meals, prepared in less than an hour, for $20 or less for six servings. Send recipes to

Reach My Daughter's at

My Daughter's Kitchen
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