Cooking with Teenagers

During the month of April, I had a truly wonderful experience !

I decided to donate some time and knowledge to Big Brothers Big Sisters through cooking lessons.

We started on April 7 when a group of 3 teen-aged boys walked into my bakery for the first lesson. The first one to speak was T, he told me that he had some cooking experience as he worked in a restaurant before, the B spoke ant told me that he didn’t cook much but really liked to eat, and the last was C who is very shy and told me he had very little experience in the kitchen.

During the firs lesson we talked about different heat sources, and what some different cooking methods were. Then we started our hands on cooking . . . we made a yogurt cake, a quick focaccia, and some muffins. The boys were happy to find out that they could chose the flavours of the muffins, so we made them with peanut butter AND Nutella !!

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The second lesson was more intense, we discovered how to boil, sautee, steam and how to make rice pilaph. It was fun to see how the lessons started with someone inevitably saying “I don’t like that” ( though I must say that it was always with a smile on their face) . . . and at the end of the evening they would say “wow, I generally don’t like it, but this is really good”. For example, B didn’t like Zucchini . . . at all . . . but ended up eating all the steamed zucchini we made 😀

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The third lesson we were focused on meats, so we braised some turkey and we stewed some chicken. We also braised some cabbage. As young men of their age have lots of energy, I really wanted to keep them busy, so as the food was stewing and braising . . . we made some pasta !! They really enjoyed making the pasta from scratch, and understanding how and why it is done like that.

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The best lesson was the fourth and final one . . . This is when the boys cooked for me !! they made some delicious steamed zucchini ( B. really enjoyed them this time also?), then they prepared some sautéed vegetables, some zucchini braised in milk, and . . . . (drum roll)  . .. .  home made pasta with a delicious meat sauce !! Yes, they bought the meat in chunks and chopped really finely to make the meat sauce !!

This was such a great experience for me ! Being able to transmit my passion to young people who can, and will, make use of the skills they learned is so rewarding 🙂

During the last lesson, there was a feeling of friendship in the air. No more shyness or awkwardness . . . we all cooked and shared the meal we prepared.

Thank you to C, T, and B for coming to my lessons, thank you to Christy for letting it happen, and thank you to Big Brothers Big Sisters for organizing such a great experience !!

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