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Students take field trip to the kitchen

Posted: February 17, 2009 1:13 a.m.
Updated: February 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Northlake Hills Elementary School fourth-graders Lauren Smith, left, and Chris Gladden, squirt whipped cream on top of "poolside parfaits" fruit desserts Friday as part of the 14th annual Kids Cooking Campaign at Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency.

Parents, police officers, firefighters, and other community workers enjoyed a sunny lunch on Friday at the Valencia Industrial Kitchen despite the rainy weather. Robin Cook's fourth-class from Northlake Hills Elementary School whipped up the, "Fun in the Sun" meal as part of the Santa Clarita Valley's School Food Services Agency's 14th annual Cooking Campaign.

Groups of students dressed in white aprons and tall chefs hats, prepared fruit kabobs, Caesar salad, chips and salsa, three different types of pizza, and dessert parfaits.

"We're cooking for the ourselves, our parents, and officers from the fire department and police department," said Natasha Monnett as she speared fruit on a skewer.

"We're making kabobs and putting all the fruit on; grapes, kiwi, pineapple, cantaloup, and strawberries," said student Daniel Brogan. "Then we stick them into a pineapple."

The finished skewers fanned out from the pineapple to create a colorful display.

"It looks pretty as a centerpiece but it is also food," said Monnett.

Robert Willcox's team chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro to make salsa.

"We cut all the ingredients, combined them and added chips," he said.

The students set long tables with sunshine centerpieces, brightly colored tablecloths, place mats, napkins, and silverware. Serving tables sported tropical-style decorations including leis, parasols, and tropical fruit.

Kyle Tomlin participated in making place mats for the tables, he said.

"It was hard work for 32 kids to make the 170 place mats," he said.

The students colored clip art, glued it to the place mats and created a title for each place mat, said student Lauren Smith.

"We also made our own designs," she said.

Brogan enjoyed the cooking campaign experience and hopes to be a chef someday, he said.

"My mom cooks a lot and she taught me," he said. "It's really fun."

The cooking campaign gives students practical kitchen experience and teaches them how to cook nutritiously balanced meals, said area supervisor Sue Sneed.

"We go over nutrition and teach them how to concentrate on sanitation," she said. "They have aprons and hair nets on."

The campaign also provides a chance for students to enjoy a meal with their parents, said food services Director Jane Crawford.

"Because of the busy-ness of most parents the idea of sitting together for a meal is lost," she said.

"Communication is lost when parent's don't eat with their children."

Campaign staff members invite fourth-grade classes to participate in the program because they show interest in cooking and are old enough to handle kitchen tools, Sneed said.

"We try to select a different school every time," Crawford said.


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