Celebrating cooking accomplishments with family, friends

Natijah Plummer, Elimara Gonzalez, Shayline Rodriguez, and Kayshla Alers gather during the final week of the fall 2016 My Daughter's Kitchen cooking program at Boys and Girls Club of Camden.

 As we gathered for our final cooking assignment, the girls chatted excitedly about who was joining us for dinner that afternoon. They were all looking forward to sharing their new skills and of course, food, with a family member.

We made the Chicken and broccoli dish along with the carrot cake from the prior week as we hadn't had a chance to make it due to a class cancellation. We got started on peeling carrots and grating them for our carrot cake. Initially the girls were undecided about how adding the pineapple into the cake was going to taste, but by the time they were smelling the wonderful aroma from the oven to the time that they dug in for dessert, their trepidation was over. All of them, including their family members had second pieces of the cake! They were amazed that the cake didn't come from a box.

 All of the girls took part in cutting the chicken into 1" pieces and chopping broccoli. As the quinoa bubbled away on the stove, we set to stir frying the chicken and eventually the broccoli along with preparing our sauce. While we waited for the meal to finish cooking, the table was set and our guests arrived. Finally everything was ready to serve.

Nataijah Plummer shared that the first week she was so afraid to even touch the knives and now she considered herself a "master chopper". Kayshla Alers was always our best eater every week and she said that she was happy to try new foods each week. Shaline Rodriguez even braved coming to our last class after ending up in the hospital that morning from an allergic reaction. She was so happy to be with us and have her mother join us that afternoon. Elimara Gonzalez shared that she likes to cook at home alongside her mother and she brought some of those kitchen skills with her to class.

The girls were presented with certificates and a wooden kitchen spoon along with their biggest treasure - their My Daughter's Kitchen cookbooks! I think we have some budding chefs that we have started along the path to trying new foods and learning a good foundation of kitchen management.

-- Michele Tuma, Peru Wilmer