Order’s up: Baker students learn culinary skills at Recipe for Life

Published 5:58 pm Monday, December 12, 2022

Along with academic expertise, schools seek to teach life skills to students as well.

Baker Intermediate School students certainly had such an opportunity last week.

Thanks to Recipe for Life, students learned how to make several dishes at the Clark County Extension Office.

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“This is a program where we’re geared directly towards fifth graders,” said Shonda Johnston, the extension agent for family and consumer science. “We bust them all over here, and they’re going to learn some life skills, mostly kitchen food safety, food preparation, learning how to read a recipe, knife skills, all of the things that they might need as they become grownups.”

Even with 15 tables set up for students, not everyone could be accommodated in one day. Thus, attendance was split over three days, with about 120 students attending daily based on their homeroom teachers.

While students of language arts teachers showed up on Wednesday and those of math teachers were present on Thursday, pupils of social students teachers attended on Friday.

The event was made possible with aid from Baker Intermediate School staff, specifically counselors Cindy Whiteside and Emily Daniels.

“When we started talking about this, I actually met with the counselors. It was back in March”, Johnston added. “We started talking about how we really wanted to do this program, and I said I offered it. They [thought] it would be awesome.”

Students took turns making four different dishes – carrot zucchini muffins, all-star meatballs, fresh fruit salad, and thyme-roasted carrots.

As such, they found various items such as eggs, flour, apple sauce, bananas, vegetable oil, baking soda, cornflakes, ketchup, nutmeg, and more located at a center table.

However, long before the process began, students spent time reviewing some basic yet often overlooked instructions.

While emphasizing hand-washing, students were also instructed to utilize aprons and tie up any long hair.

Videos were used to educate students on how to cut food safely, as well as how to properly make use of measuring cups.

Volunteers were present at each table to answer any questions and help facilitate the process.

Among them was retired police officer Phillip Wright.

“I love working with the students, anything that’s involved with the students. If I can help these kids out doing something, it means a lot to me”, he said. “The last three days, they’ve been awesome. They’re really wanting to get involved in what we’re doing.”

Though adults may be familiar with several practices, students had an opportunity to discover and learn for the first time.

“They’re getting to see what people are able to do and what they’re not able to do,” Johnston said. “We had a couple of kids that I’ve seen that have never cracked an egg before…you have some kids who have never tasted zucchini before. They get a chance to have all those things.”

At the day’s end, students could take a recipe home, among other resources, on top of enjoying some delectable food.

Along with the experience, Johnson hopes the day’s activity will benefit students long-term.

“There’s a little sense of accomplishment that I think they’re getting from this,” she said. “It’s neat to watch them feel proud of themselves and to have those skills that they are going to feel like they can do at home.”