“If the recipe calls for one and a half cups and we want to double the recipe, how many cups would we use?” Miss Melissa asks her young chefs.
Ten kids stand in the kitchen with their aprons tied around their waists and their hands freshly washed. The kids are members of the Glenrock Boys & Girls Club. They are gathered around the kitchen to create their latest dish for Cooking Club, under the watchful guidance of youth development professional Melissa.
With ingredients like elbow macaroni, ham, a can of pineapple, greek yogurt, mayo and green onion, the kids are tackling Hawaiian Macaroni Salad for this week’s recipe. As they read the recipe together, each person takes on a task. One starts boiling the water. Two others prep the ham. Another chops the green onion.
“They learn teamwork, how to prepare ingredients according to the recipe, the ability to think creatively, and to adjust for different tastes,” said Glenrock Site Director, Jacque Stoldt.
Once a week, these members get together to whip up something tasty. They started with simple things like fruit pizza and smoothies. With practice and becoming more comfortable in the kitchen, they’ve been able to move on to more complex recipes like shredded bar-b-que chicken sandwiches, chicken and rice, and pumpkin cheesecake, using homemade pumpkin puree. And sometimes their recipes are something they’ve never tried before.
“In the beginning they would refuse anything that wasn’t familiar to them and now they try everything. Even our pickiest eaters try a bite. Some find they still don’t like the dish, but most of the time they find that they have to try something to see if they really like it,” said Jacque.
They are not only learning their way around the kitchen, but they are also able to put basic math concepts such as fractions, division, and multiplication to work. Jacque says the kids are using their new skills at home to help in the kitchen.
“They love having ownership in the foods that they create and they are so proud to present the finished product to the adults around the Club. It has helped instill a sense of confidence and responsibility with the kids.”
To finish off this day’s recipe, Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, once the pasta was done cooking, the members worked together to compile all of the ingredients into a large bowl. The kids set the table for serving and finished the process with clean-up including washing the dishes.