Clad in white chef hats and aprons, students bustle around the family and consumer sciences lab at Beaver Dam High School, learning their way around a kitchen.
“The art of cooking is basically a science,” said Beaver Dam High School family and consumer sciences teacher Sue Shore.
Shore teaches Kids in the Kitchen, a popular class offered as an option for summer school students. She is teaching three classes this summer, one for students finishing second or third grades, another for students finishing fourth and fifth grades, and an advanced class for students who have completed Kids in the Kitchen before.
Shore said her class teaches safety and sanitation, and gives both parents and children confidence that the child can work safely in the kitchen. She said the class also allows the students to learn teamwork when making recipes and teaches them the importance of good nutrition.
The students also learn something that parents will appreciate – how to clean up after themselves – washing dishes, wiping down counters and the stove and sweeping the floor.
Shore said she has been teaching the class for over 20 years. She said it always has full enrollment and a waiting list.
“I love it,” Shore said. “They are so eager. They love to play ‘house’ and they love to clean up.”
Shore’s advanced class learned the difference between broiling and baking – the broiler cooks with direct heat and baking surrounds the food with heat. They also learned why a cook should keep the oven door open while broiling.
“It keeps the heat going,” Shore said.
Her advanced students made Potato Volcano on Tuesday, a recipe that required them to use a double boiler, a stand mixer and the broiler and learn how to make a roux – a thickening agent made from flour and fat that serves as the base for sauces, gravy and more.
The advanced students made a cheese sauce from the roux that became the “lava” in their mashed potato “volcanoes.”
Jayden Douma, stirring the cheese sauce for Potato Volcano, said his favorite food they’ve made so far in class was marshmallow pops.
“The biggest hazard of the class is not eating in every class,” Shore said. “Every group wants me to sample.”
Shore’s curriculum for Kids in the Kitchen includes recipes inspired by popular children’s books. She said she also teaches the importance of breakfast.
Her students learn safe food handling practices, learn to detect safety hazards in the kitchen and how to identify small kitchen tools. She teaches them to use different kitchen appliances.
Student Aubrianna Distefano said she was scared to use the oven before taking the class. She said she enjoyed learning how to use different appliances and tools.
The classes run for 90 minutes and students take a copy of the recipes they make home with them. Becky Csiacsek and Lori Ferch assist Shore in the Kids in the Kitchen classroom, helping students measure ingredients, operate appliances and more.
“You can make a lot of different things with just a little bit,” said student Ashley Blatz.