My school has a mandatory sports program for all students, which meet Tuesdays through Saturdays after school. On Mondays in the fall and spring terms, we have Clubs, which is our extracurricular activities program.
This year, I decided to run a Club called “Cooking for Boys”. I like the girls at our school, but I feel like many of them are on the right track in a lot of ways, and the boys need a wider range of opportunities that are just for them. Plus, there are several girls-only clubs. So I decided that I’d take a group of six boys, and teach them something about cooking in the six weeks of Mondays that I have to work with.
Oh dear. The list of boys who signed up included four of the ‘worst’ boys on campus. And since the only kitchen I had to work with was the one in my apartment — well, any number of things could go wrong.
And we started well. At 3:00pm we went to the grocery store. We bought the ten things on my groceries list, and a few things from theirs. We were in the store maybe fifteen minutes.
Then we went to the farmers’ market. It was a slow day; there weren’t too many vendors with stalls set up, plus it was early. The market opens at 3:30, but most people don’t show to buy until 4:30 or 5:00, on their way home from work. But we bought broccoli, potatoes, carrots, peppers, apples, pears, Asian pears, nectarines, peaches… we decided on corn at the last minute too.
Then we came home. And OH, the chopping and dicing, as people sampled the fruit. We tried a local hard sheep’s cheese that I’d bought a week ago, that was aged just right. We devoured two small bunches of Champagne grapes. And then we started cooking.
My goal for yesterday was to show how that staple food of dormitory life, ramen noodles, could be adapted and enriched with judicious additions. We added fresh carrots, diced peppers, onion, garlic, sweet Italian sausage to a vegetable base. At the last moment we threw in an egg, and stirred it into an impromptu egg drop soup.
Yes, Shelly, it was paperless. Even on a Monday. We didn’t even consult a cook book.
Usually there’s food left over at the end of this kind of endeavor. Not today. Today it was all gone. And the “bad” kids. Sure, they needed a little direction and guidance. But really?
The kids are all right.