How quickly eight weeks can go by! We have had eight weeks of delicious recipes, with no leftovers at any meal and no real disasters. The students have learned how to chop, dice, mince, saute, poach, marinate, boil, simmer, bake, peel, slice, and zest. They not only read the recipes but they also had to plan how to get everything finished at the same time. They needed to get their ingredients “mise en place,” measured and ready to add to the food.
By the last class, as evidenced by the picture, Hamza Alnatsheh and CJ Williams were rolling the dough, Sophia Heavens was cutting out the circles, and Laziz Davronov and Vincent Vadeanu were filling the pies with blackberries and then sealing them. They worked together like a well-oiled machine.
Preparing the foil packets looked like a real assembly line, with everyone taking a different task to finish the 18 packets and get them into the oven on time. This allowed time to set the table for the guests: two dads, two moms, a brother, a sister and a grandma.
The guest seemed to be quite surprised by the salmon, spinach, and quinoa packets and very impressed by the blackberry handpies. Vincent’s grandmother said, “This is very good!” We talked about the program and encouraged the parents to allow their children to continue helping them in the kitchen at home. CJ’s dad commented, “Yes, he enjoys helping out.” Sophia’s dad was amazed at all of the new foods that she had eaten with us.
Mrs. Munafo told the parents, “All of these students were cooperative, helpful, and willing to try all of the foods that we made, even if they didn’t like them."
Ms. Pupis reminded the students that Laziz even ate the mushrooms in the “vegetarian cheesesteak,” and that Sophia ate the chicken soup.
Over the course of the spring, the students also became quite good food critics. For instance, Hamza told us that the blackberry pies were good but “too sweet” so he would add less sugar. Hopefully they will all try the recipes at home with their families, making changes as they see fit. Who knows? We might even have a future chef among them!
— Jane Pupis, Susan Munafo
We had a wonderful meal together today. There was not time this week to have the children write in their blue books, but I think that the comments I sent in last week can be used to summarize the childrens’ experience this semester. Pat and I couldn’t help but notice how the children matured over the eight weeks. They gained self confidence and by the last session were working together as a team....learning from each other and supporting each other to prepare a meal.
— Sallie Anderson
Our kids, Victor, Katelynn, Shanamar and Gigi were very excited to prepare this menu: biscuits and eggs, apple citrus salad, and blackberry/blueberry hand pies. We introduced flavored seltzer to drink and French onion dip with spicy corn chips for appetizer.
We looked back on the progress we made this semester. Victor now wants to become a chef. Gigi is now allowed to assist with cooking in the kitchen, and has even made a recipe or two from previous weeks. Katelynn being the most mature, liked to guide her friends to further explain and share tasks. Shanamar lost some of her shyness and asserted herself more.
Students went home with the recipe book, a My Daughter’s Kitchen wooden spoon, and a small notebook with colored pens to write, draw or express themselves in any way.
A very successful season once again!
— Judith Levine
The students at McClure could not believe that My Daughter’s Kitchen was finished. The students were excited and happy to share everything that they learned with their friends, family, and teachers.
The students decided that they wanted to make the Turkey Lettuce, Apple and Orange Salad, and of course, the Blackberry Hand Pies. The students loved everything that they made for our last class. Everyone was happy and excited to participate. We even had our guest pitch in and help.
— Wendy Vandenburg
Team Up Philly at Universal Daroff
Our class favorite recipe... (drumroll, please!)...Salmon in Foil with Spinach and Cream! This ambitious group also loved the Apple, Orange and Parsley Salad, and decided to make that, too. Together with the Blackberry Hand Pies for dessert, we planned for an ambitious day of cooking. Our talented chefs got everything done in time to set a beautiful table for our guests, but we were so busy that we forgot to take pictures! The salmon was a big hit with all of our guests.
-Elena Levitan and Beth Buckman
Robert B. Pollock Elementary School
What an incredible journey and final celebration week! Bringing in our families and friends as special guests was such a pleasure, and the students did an incredible job of serving and preparing a tasty meal for them. Joseph Alejandro’s (Grade 6) mother commented, “He has really enjoyed coming every Tuesday after school. It’s his favorite day of the week. He used to be a picky eater and not like our Puerto Rican food but he seems to be enjoying everything you’re making together!”
— Olivia Bates
Feltonville School of Arts & Sciences
Some thoughts from our final meeting together:
“This program was amazing... It was a big experience for me, and I hope I can make this [food] at home to show everyone that I can cook.” — Rosary Torres
“Today was the best! ... I love all of my new friends!” —Jazzairah Williams
“In this amazing journey,... I was able to make healthy dishes with a lot of fun doing so. I really enjoyed this program and hope to do it once again next year.” — Jayla Velasquez
— Tijuanda L. Riddick
St. Augustine Academy
The girls arrived very excited and ready to prepare a fabulous meal for their nine guests. The salmon with spinach and cream was the recipe they selected, so they started immediately to wash the spinach, mince the shallots, and zest the lemon. Amaia Randall remarked that even though the shallots made her cry as she prepared them, they became so mild when cooked.
When they brought out the blueberry hand pies for dessert, the girls received rave reviews from everyone.
— Ann Strohacker, Cheryl Pfeiffer, Irene Cabrelli
What a whirlwind our last class always is, but in a great way. Making three recipes in an hour is quite a challenge, but somehow we managed to get it done. The children were so excited to have their families come. Abraham Soriano kept wanting to check downstairs to see if anyone had arrived yet!
The table was decorated with spring flowers and Easter eggs and looked beautiful.
Eight weeks ago, when we first met this new class, they told us that the previous class said the food was okay but the class was boring. Well Mariann and I were determined to prove them wrong. On our last day of class, Allanah Bumpers was not in school because she was attending a funeral, but her mother called school to see if she could still bring her for cooking class because Allanah didn’t want to miss it. That was the best compliment of all!
— Maureen Barrett and Mariann Owens
Philadelphia Montessori Charter School
All five of our girls participated in the “party.” It was a big success with the girls describing what we made to their family members. They were happy to receive the wooden spoons and certificates.
The excitement was in the air! What are we making?? The choice was turkey wraps or salmon. As the culinary kids unpacked the packs, they cheered for the salmon. LiLa Mora said, “I am so excited to make this for our parents! And since we made this before and tried it, I’m sure that since we liked it, our parents might like it too.”
Jaesha Benjamin was happy with the choice also, “I am so happy because the salmon was my favorite and the black berry hand pies are really good, too.”
The jobs were divided up, and they began to prepare the meal. Maeve Taffe chopped the shallots, and LiLa Mora zested the lemon. Erica Gogan, said, “Imagine, just a few weeks ago, we didn’t know what lemon zest was or how to make it.”
Jaesha Benjamim, remarked, “We are working like an assembly line. I spray the foil. Erica spoons out the spinach and places the salmon on top. Chey sprinkles lemon zest, and LiLa adds tarragon. Maeve folds the foil and pours in the cream and Mrs. Craley folds the packet. All ready for the oven.”
Erica Gogan said, “This is the most fun! I am going to miss cooking.”
Everyone was in agreement. Cheyanna Rivas told everyone, “I’m so excited the food is starting to look amazing and delicious. I love the smell of the scrumptious food.”
The students were so proud of the meal they created for their parents. They plated the food and excitedly served the food. As the families exclaimed how good everything was, Cheyanna Rivas announced, “I’m kind of sad that it’s the last day but I’m excited we were able to cook one last time.”
The parents were surprised at the skills their children learned in eight weeks and are looking forward to trying out some of the other recipes. It was a wonderful class with a great group of children.
— Lorrie Craley
Team Up Philly at Universal Daroff