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Old 09-01-2011, 11:03 PM   #1
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Question Ideas for a successful high school cooking class

I currently work at a health center in a high school and am interested in developing a cooking class for the students. Teenagers are difficult to engage and we are hoping to create a model for the class that is fun, engaging, and sustainable. We are thinking the class would be weekly. Ideally, the teacher would be the same the entire time, rather than a guest chef each week, but we'll see what we can get. Any ideas for fun, healthy recipes or special teaching methods that are teen-friendly? What about fun home-work assignments or ways to eventually involve parents or the community? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!


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Old 09-02-2011, 01:41 AM   #2
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That sounds like a great idea!

I would try to focus on process and technique instead of recipes. Master technique for stir fry, soup, casserole, etc.

I would also consider the Food Stamp Challenge or your own version of it to work some math and budgeting into the class. The challenge is to plan for a week using $25.00/ person for food. If the families get involved it can be an interesting lesson in much more than cooking.

I would also work in some items that most teens assume come only premade from the store. Things like salad dressings, pasta sauce, mayonnaise etc.

Good luck and most of all have fun!

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Old 09-02-2011, 04:41 AM   #3
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I agree with Aunt Bea, mastering techniques. In my Home Ec. classes I learned to make a simple white sauce. It's a basic skill to making all sauces and gravies.

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Old 09-02-2011, 05:32 AM   #4
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Start with the basics...knife skills, chopping, dicing, pealing, sauteing, creaming, and don't forget measuring, it is amazing how many people do not know how to measure wet or dry ingredients using measuring cups and spoons, oh those pesky fractions.

Depending on how long the class period is fun recipes can be mac n cheese, chili, burgers, salads, bnls/sknl chicken breasts, pasta dishes with homemade sauces, desserts with home made whipped cream.

I keep thinking Good Eats meets 30-minute meals...
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:20 AM   #5
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lol, dave. someone needs to photoshop thin, blond spikey hair onto rachael ray's head. with glasses.

aunt bea's and the other suggestions are very good.

just throwing out some ideas, you could ask the students to have to prepare (or obtain on a budget) all of their own meals for a period of time, say a week or two, maybe a month. the period can be broken up into a two budget system: one with very limited funds, the other with better funding.

this can be tied into an accounting or economics class, stressing that if the kids do well in school to eventually get a good job, they'll be better able to feed themselves and their families.

another tie in would be health or phys ed classes, teaching them bmi depends on their diet as well as finding the time to both cook and exercise besides their schoolwork and social life.

hmm, maybe not that last part. they may never want to leave home...
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Old 09-02-2011, 01:20 PM   #6
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Here's how they did it where I live

Oasis High students get a taste of the kitchen, thanks to program developed by Cape chef - pineisland-eagle.com, news, sports, Florida info, Pine Island Eagle
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Old 09-02-2011, 01:22 PM   #7
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I think the techniques are a great place to start but I would teach them is relation to a recipe. Each week focus on a technique then using that technique to create a dish. The instructor chooses the dish for class. For homework, the kids can research other ways that technique can be used and should make a dish at home that requires that technique. I think if you just do techniques the kids may get bored. They need to see how knowing to do different things in the kitchen allows for creativity to flourish. It will also help them to be able to read a recipe and follow the instructions.
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:00 PM   #8
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only thing i would add, is to let the kids have hands on experience. i remember classes, that were just boring. no fun just to watch someone else do the deed. it might require more equipment. measuring stuff for each one , etc. nothing teaches as well as doing.
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Old 09-03-2011, 06:41 AM   #9
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4-H has kid's cooking curriculum. Find your local Extension office and see what they have to offer.
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Old 09-03-2011, 03:01 PM   #10
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I know alot of kids these days who are more health conscious especially teenage girls who want to be uber skinny at this age. Maybe get them interested by educating them from the inside out. So teaching them about nutrition and the body and how to keep themselves fit and healthy. Not all kids are going to be into this but that's no reason not to educate them about the body and it's needs.

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