Culinary Treats Dished-Up at St. John's
Cooking up the coolest culinary treats is happening at St. John the Baptist School in Kenmore. Students in grades 1 to 3 are participating in the school’s new STEM/STREAM program, Kitchen Chemistry! Teachers Mary Mietlicki and Alicia Stradley are introducing various components of STREAM, which includes Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, along with Religion and the Arts, into the kitchen to serve up some tasty lessons!
“Using recipes, thermometers, and pan balances are all kid-friendly ways to allow students to become familiar with science tools they will encounter during formal instruction,” explains Mietlicki. “It’s a non-threatening, fun way to get them excited about these devices.”
The program has been so popular that the teachers have had to add an extra day to the after-school program. “It’s hands-on learning centered in the kitchen,” says Stradley. “Food origins, healthy food choices, preparation and safety, and the impact of accurate measurement on a recipe’s outcome are some of the topics explored during the course of the program. We try to include some new fruit and vegetable choices to broaden palettes over the weeks, as well as making foods that are generally purchased as processed foods, such as pretzels!”
Second grader Ellie Leonard says that creating fruit salad was her favorite session so far. “Cutting the fruit up into pieces was my favorite part,” says Leonard, “and I really liked the way it tasted!” Although she enjoyed slicing and dicing all the melons and fruits included in the colorful dish, she says, “I liked the blueberries and strawberries the best. Strawberries are my favorite fruit to eat,” which were especially a treat at this time of the year. Leonard says she’s looking forward to an upcoming session during which she and her fellow chefs will be cooking up a delicious, chicken Asian stir-fry.
Kitchen Chemistry is designed as edible science to engage the youngest of learners, such as students, such as Leonard. The program is designed to introduce 21st century learning skills to including creative, hands-on learning and problem solving techniques. Students in grades 1 to 3 work cooperatively in small groups in a closely supervised setting to complete their culinary creations!