First off, I’d like to happily report that there was NO BLOOD in the first installment of cooking class this year.
All kidding aside, things went very well. Last Friday, 13 kids gathered in our school kitchen to make pizzas. They ranged in ages 5-11, and in general, I would say they had very little cooking experience. Our menu consisted of two things, pizza and fruit pizza.
The first thing I did was to line up the kiddos and give them a firm lecture on the one rule of cooking class:
I reasoned that cooking is all about following directions, If you put things together in the wrong order, they won’t come out right in the end. Also, I did mention that the kitchen can be dangerous, and that safety is important!
(I did not say that I don’t want to clean up blood….but that is true as well).
Then, after mandatory hand-washing, we began.
Before I go any further, cooking class would not have worked without the amazing assistance of my saintly mother-in-law. The biggest lesson I learned was that Mr. Crowder needs more help next time.
For the fruit pizzas, there were two teams: the mixing team and the cutting team. The younger students mixed cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar together to make the “sauce”. All the kindergarteners and first graders took turns mixing, and although there was some conflict over allotted stirring time, “IT’S MYYYY TUUUURRRRRRRRRRRNNNNNNNNNNNNN TO STIRRRRR”, they did wonderfully.
The older kids were taught to use a knife to cut up fruit. I always find it funny that we teachers are always so vastly outnumbered by students. I’ve said before, that the kids could revolt at any time and overpower me, but fortunately, kids usually can’t organize themselves to do such things. Now I’m teaching them to use knives.
All joking aside, they are AWESOME students, and I trust them completely (plus, in case of a student revolt, I’d like to think my daughter would be on my side.)
Anyway, they skillfully chopped strawberries and pineapple chunks into bite size pieces.
Finally, we all took turns assembling our pizzas and refrigerated them. You can see our masterpieces of pastry pizza below:
After that it was on to the regular pizzas. For this, I divided the kids into four teams. Each team was to make one pizza. I tried to divide the teams up with kids of various ages on each team. We talked a little about the history of pizza (thanks Neapolitans!), and got to work.
For this task, I gave the students a list of steps they had to follow. Overall, there were 10 steps including clean up. Each team assembled their pizzas according to instructions. I made them measure out pizza sauce and the cheeses, to give them experience with using measuring cups. I also gave kids a choice of toppings. I had pepperoni, browned hamburger, and olives available. Two of the groups just stuck with pepperoni, but the all-male group added copious hamburger and pepperoni (because they’re men!), and my daughter made a deluxe with hamburger, olives, and pepperoni. My son had a minor meltdown when we put the toppings on before the cheese…but I somewhat calmly explained that we do that to keep the toppings from sliding off.
Anyway, we topped the pizzas with mozzarella and colby-jack cheese, and then I placed them in the oven. Ten minutes later, SUCCESS! Pizzas were oozing with meaty, cheesy goodness.
When the kids left at about 5:30, I was pretty wiped out. I thought things went alright, but wondered if it was worth all the effort. Then Sunday morning…I received sweet affirmation that the kids learned. One of my students was sitting in front of us at church. Her mom turned around and told me that her daughter loved the class and that they were making homemade pizzas that night. She even showed her mom how to hold her knife (in a non-threatening way…I hope…). Overall, her comments really made my morning, and I’m looking forward to the next class two weeks from now, when we’ll be tackling breakfast at 3:30 in the afternoon. If you are curious about our kitchen adventures, check out my semester plan in this earlier blog post.
Finally, I’ll ask my readers, what do you first remember cooking as a kid?