They were waiting for it to boil, so they could take the next step in making egg salad, although the process wasn’t boring, they said.
“The best part’s when the bubbles come up,” 13-year-old Leo Gharamanian explained.
Simple parts of the cooking process were enjoyable, even amid the rush in the classroom, which was a big change from normal academic routines, students said.
“It’s one of my favorites,” said 12-year-old Joshua Bote, referring to his other classes. “Instead of just sitting in a classroom, we learn something we can do in life.”
Joshua was directing two of his classmates to juice lemons after he zested them. The products would be used to make lemon bars, which would add to the week’s menu of tomato soup and egg salad, he said.
“They have to work together, so I think it gives them self-confidence,” teacher Martha Ford said.
Ford planned the menu, choosing from a collection of recipes she has built up over the 25 years she has taught cooking, she said.
She tries to plan a mix of foods throughout the course and lets the students contribute meal ideas as well, but she shies away from items they might be familiar with, Ford said.
“Mostly, I don’t stress Armenian and Mexican [foods], because those are the two ethnic groups that most of the kids come from and I figure they get that at home,” Ford said, although she does offer students extra credit for bringing recipes of choice, which can include cultural foods, to teach to the class.
Bianca Khodabakhsh, 12, had some cooking experience before taking the class, but thought it would be useful, she said.
“Since I cook at home I thought I’d be good at it, so it’s an opportunity for me,” she said.
Bianca had learned unfamiliar recipes in the class, for dishes like almond cake and flapjacks, that she was able to use at home, she said.
That was the point of the course, Ford said — to get students cooking outside of her classroom.
“I hope that they will get a desire to make cooking a part of their lifestyle,” Ford said. “I don’t expect them to be chefs by any means, but I hope they get a taste so that they will cook at home.”