Kids cook program a recipe for fun



May 24, 2011 - 12:00 AM

HUMBOLDT — Kids in Humboldt, Moran, LaHarpe and Iola have an opportunity to learn to cook as part of Allen County Extension Service’s “Kids Can Cook” program.
The three-day program began Monday in Humboldt.
For 21⁄2 hours each day, students learn how to cook under the direction of Terri Kretzmeier. This year’s theme is cooking with food items from the garden, the farm and from the sea. On Monday, they made farmer’s market salsa, peach and blueberry crisp, fruit kabobs, three bean salad and sweet potato fries.
At the end of the sessions, the young cooks are given a cookbook containing all the recipes from the week.
The students work in small groups with each child making at least two recipes per day, Kretzmeier said, then they taste all the food that is prepared.
“We don’t use words like ‘icky’ or ‘gross.’ If they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it, but they have to try it,” said Kathy McEwan, who assists with the class.
The classes are designed for students who have completed second through fifth grades. Signup is through Allen County Extension, 365-2242.
Moran and LaHarpe students will meet June 13-16 at Moran Senior/Community Center from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the LaHarpe Senior Center.
Classes for Iola youngsters will be June 21-23 in the Iola High School home economics room from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and again from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
The classes also teach children safety in the kitchen. When they use a knife, for example, it should be held by the handle. When they are finished with the knife they should put it on the counter away from the edge so little brothers and sisters can’t reach it.
“I also stress cross contamination of food. I tell the kids if they bite a carrot not to put it back in a dip, and if they touch their face, hair or clothing that they have to wash their hands before they resume cooking. The kids end up washing their hands a lot,” Kretzmeier said.
Kretzmeier has been teaching the classes for seven years and noted, “we have a lot of kids — boys and girls — who return year after year.”
The class is limited to about 20 participants at each location. There is room in all remaining classes in Iola, Moran and LaHarpe, Kretzmeier said.

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