Would-be cooks, ages 9 to 14, sat in rows at tables and learned how to fold napkins over their laps. Talk of what was to come filled the air.
Pancakes? Burgers? Tacos? The children were excited by the prospects, and while the adults prepared food stations around the room, bonds were being formed.
LaDonna Dunlop, registered dietitian for the Oklahoma County Extension Service, said the goal of the two-day cooking school known as “Kids in the Kitchen” is to give children background knowledge of nutrition and basic instruction in food preparation.
“Children often learn more by doing, so that's the concept we're promoting in our cooking school,” Dunlop said.
On June 26 and 27, children participated in apron decorating, physical activities, table etiquette, learned how to read food labels and were taught what it means to steam, bake, broil and baste.
“It's important because when we grow up we'll know how to cook for our kids,” said Kids in the Kitchen participant Rori Goodwin, 8.
“We live in a world where many people have either forgotten how to cook or never learned how to prepare healthy meals. If people want a healthy diet that helps them avoid obesity and the health risks that go along with that, it's a big help to learn how to cook,” Dunlop said.
The Kids in the Kitchen cooking school is an annual two-day event that costs $30.
On July 30-31, The Oklahoma County Cooperative Extensive Service and the Oklahoma County 4-H Chefs Club will host a “Food Showdown” for youth ages 9 to 19. Teams of two to three contestants will unwrap secret ingredients and create dishes to impress a panel of judges and compete for prizes.