Summer cooking class spurs youngsters' interest

McDonough mother, Carol Garrett, said she has received positive responses from parents, who have noticed that their children have developed a heightened appreciation for the culinary arts.

Garrett recently concluded her week-long summer cooking class at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove. She conducted the daily class, which lasted from June 28, until July 2, in the school's kitchen.

"My expectations going in was that the kids would have a better understanding of the actual process, and would actually develop a love for cooking," said Garrett.

She said a total of 20 students, in grades one through six, enrolled in the class. "They said it sounded fun," said Garrett, of a successful first effort.

Garrett, the mother of two, said she came up with the idea to teach a cooking class, looking back on her experience raising and homeschooling her two children. She homsechooled her children for about eight years, between their kindergarten and eighth-grade years.

During that time, she said, she did a great deal of cooking and teaching in the kitchen. She would get her children involved by allowing them to create a budget, and go grocery shopping, and prepare some of their meals.

Garrett, a substitute teacher at Strong Rock, said she volunteered to teach the summer cooking class partly because of her appetite for the culinary arts. She said she also believes cooking is healthier for children.

"I just love cooking," she said. "And I think kids need to know how to cook and not at a drive-thru, fast-food restaurant. And I hope that they can cook with their families."

During the summer cooking class, students learned how to measure, bake from scratch, prepare herbs and seasonings, as well as how to incorporate good nutrition and dining etiquette into meals.

"We learned a lot of things," she said. "For instance, we made our own ranch dressing from scratch, but I don't think they knew that it didn't just come out of the bottle. One day, we made fresh-baked bread out of ground wheat. We had a Breakfast Day.

"We had snacks and Fourth of July food. We learned how to make a cake from scratch, and how to make homemade ice cream. And on the last day, we made a meal and [properly] set the table."