Starting a cooking class after a long day of school isn’t always the easiest task. Although the students look forward to cooking, doing so in school, can sometimes seem like an extension of the school day. Such was the case last week in cooking class when we made fall frittatas. Addressing this classroom dynamic was necessary. One of the values we stress in Butter Beans cooking classes is that cooking is only fun and enjoyable if those who cook are energized and excited about cooking. When making food is turned into a chore it becomes a completely different task.

Consequently, for a successful frittata class I addressed how our time cooking offered a break in the day. We embark on learning new things together, we produce something as a group, and we use our bodies throughout the class. To acknowledge these values we started class with a simple stretching exercise. Cooking is physical! Whipping eggs, cutting vegetables, and flipping frittatas in a pan require our whole selves. Stretching not only addressed the physical element of cooking but it allowed the students to release the day and re-energize for cooking. To make stretching relevant we acted out the steps of making frittata with our bodies! We pretended we were whisks whisking eggs and cheese crumbling into the pan. Some students even imitated the sound of vegetables sautéing in a pan.

Once the students were excited and ready to get their hand on ingredients, we continued to turn the cooking class into a social and fun gathering that happened to revolve around cooking. We shared our favorite ways to cook eggs, the students guessed where frittatas originated, and we told a joke or two; all while chopping spinach and grating zucchini.

There was a transformation in the students’ attitudes from the start of the class to when we sat down to eat together. Not only did they have an appreciation for a new dish and new knowledge about ingredients, but they were much more animated than when we began ninety minutes earlier. The frittata class turned into a lesson about the transformative nature of cooking in addition to learning how to make a frittata.

post contributed by Julia, Butter Beans after school cooking class teacher