Teaching Kids Cooking, Our First Week

​Our class at Community Partnership School (CPS)  is finally underway! We are a couple weeks behind the rest of the schools doing the My Daughter’s Kitchen project.  Katherine Rapin, an intern at Vetri Foundation is my partner and we are both excited to be teaching kids cooking coupled with healthy eating. We don’t tell the kids that.  We will sneak that in at the end after they have enjoyed everything.  Katherine is every bit as enthusiastic as the kids and a pleasure to work with.   We didn’t have access to the kitchen this week, so we made the gazpacho from My Daughter’s Kitchen and varied the quesadillas, by adding more veggies, cheese and seasoning them with some oregano.  I knew there wouldn’t be enough time to cook the chicken so I didn’t buy it.  We only had one pan and one burner.

teaching kids cooking

cutting everything at a feverous pace

​ We started with the gazpacho and everyone wanted to peel and chop. All the kids were saying, “What can I chop next?” or “Ooo, can I cut that?”  Their infectious enthusiasm kept three cutting boards, four knives, and two peelers going at same time.

Nicholas masterfully works the hand blender on the gazpacho.

Nicholas masterfully works the hand blender on the gazpacho.

The kids all wanted to take a turn blending the diced vegetables,  with the hand blender. I showed them that the blender had to remain submerged or there would be a big mess.  A big thank you to Breville for donating them.

teaching kids cooking

Nicholas carefully stirs the veggies so they cook evenly

They also grated the cheese and sautéed the peppers, onions and spinach for the quesadillas. Denessa insisted on being the one to cut the avocado and did a fine job. Everyone wanted to be a part of everything – even the dishes when they saw the industrial kitchen sprayer.

Annette and Anyia enjoy the fruits of their labor

Annette and Anyia enjoy the fruits of their labor

We set the table, a cup of gazpacho at each place, a platter of attractively arranged quesadillas in the middle, with accompanying salsa, greek yogurt, avocado and cilantro. ​These kids weren’t shy and dug right in – fearlessly trying everything. ​Anyia, who had been skeptical of the gazpacho, insisting that it “looks like puke” looked surprised after her first spoonful. “Mmm, I didn’t think it was going to be that good because it has onions in it.” Nicholas thought the onion flavor was too strong. Our shallot was bad so we used onion in the gazpacho.  In all the chopping excitement the sweet onions for the gazpacho and  the yellow cooking onions for the quesadillas got mixed and  more went into the gazpacho recipe then was needed.   I mentioned that a recipe is only a guideline and you can change it to your own taste, so when you make it at home use less onion. ​“This is like Vetri lunch, except we made it!” Jalia said proudly. ​“I swear, all of us did a good job… this is good,” Lucas said, biting into a quesadilla. “I don’t like to brag, but I’m going to have to brag about this.” The recipes are published in the food section of the Philadelphia Inquirer every Thursday where you can find out what is happening at the other schools too. Adrian Seltzer & Katherine Rapin

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A lot of chopping and slicing with Nicholas and Jalia. Me too


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Denessa, Nicholas, Anyia, Katherine, Annette, Lucas and Jalia

Nicholas BowersoxDenessa Burrell Aniya Daniels Lucas Graham Annette Grant

Jalia Hale

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