Week 6: Teamwork with tasty results

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Wendy Simon Sinkler monitors Nathan Coleman and Carlos Laureno as they portion batter into muffin tins for the cheddar cornbread. The students made clam chowder and cornbread during week 6 of My Daughter’s Kitchen at Olney Elementary.

While everyone was exciting about cooking the cheddar corn bread, we weren't completely sold on how the New England Clam Chowder would turn out. Sauliyah James and Ciany volunteered to be in charge of the chowder while Nathan and Carlos wanted to bake the cheddar corn bread.  Ms. Liesner thought it would be a good idea to put them in muffin tins for portion control and the students agreed that would be best as well. We were lucky to have a new volunteer this week, Wendy Simon Sinkler, who elected to extend a helping hand due to her interest in healthy living and healthy cooking. 

Team Chowder got right to work on dicing the vegetables.  Ms. Howard jumped in to show James the approximate size the carrots should but chopped to.  Sauliyah, with more confidence than we have seen in these past 6 weeks, needed no assistance as she diced the celery to perfection.  And Ciany diced the onions without shedding a single tear.  It was very clear that Team Chowder had amazing chemistry.  They needed very little assistance as they showed how well they could communicate, and work together as a team.

Over on Team Corn Bread, Nathan and Carlos were like a well oiled machine!  Mrs. Sinkler helped Nathan melt the butter while Ms. Liesner helped to translate the ingredients from English to Spanish for Carlos, our language learner.  Nathan was in charge of the wet ingredients while Carlos worked with the dry ingredients. Once the batter was made, both took turns pouring the batter into our muffin tins. As a team they put the muffins into the oven.

Once the cheddar corn bread was in the oven it was time to turn our attentions to our clam chowder.  Ms. Liesner asked the students if they knew the difference between a soup and a chowder.  "A chowder is cheesy?" asked Sauliyah.  "It can be, but our chowder today is going to be creamy and hearty" answered Ms. Liesner.  "Does anyone know how we are going to turn our soup into a chowder?" asked Ms. Liesner. The adults laughed as the students stared back at her with blank faces.  "We are going to make a roux!" answered Ms. Liesner.  She explained what a roux was and then had the students make one. The students were amazed as the soup got thicker and creamier.

The timer went off and the corn bread was done.  Everyone sat around the table anxiously waiting to try the chowder and the corn bread.  The students were pleasantly surprised that the corn bread did not need any butter and was tasty as is.  The students liked the clam chowder so much they begged Ms. Liesner for seconds. Sauliyah later described the chowder as "creamy, chewy, delicious".  Nathan said that his favorite part was melting the butter and the smell of the cheddar corn bread. With another successful week behind us, we realized that maybe we should not have turned our noses up at something until we have tried it.  The chowder tasted better than we ever imagined it would!

--Samantha Liesner