To put it simply…. I was nervous. Many reasons to be nervous. You never know what kids might ask you. Adults are more predictable. There is a broad agreement between all the adults in the world that they will not ask you very uncomfortable questions unless they are your close relatives or co passengers in a train. Another reason for being nervous is that I have been cooking for a long time but never tried teaching it to anybody. Some friends picked it up on their own but never taught in a formal way.
And the last stumbling block was that the stuff I was trying to teach was a little bit new to me. The first day syllabus was three varieties of salad – Coleslaw, French Dressing, and Russian Salad. Since we were primarily teaching no fire cooking, we chose dishes which are safe enough for kids to make.
We started with a small introduction with all the kids and then I introduced myself. The nerves were still not relaxed. I asked all the kids to wash hands and also tie their hairs ( I also had a rubber band on my hairs ). Now we started cutting some vegies for our salads. It was so tough to ensure that kids cut vegetables without hurting themselves. Then there were some fight between kids to cut vegetables. We also did a little bit of grating and struggled to ensure that kids keep their fingers away from grater. By this time I was getting a little bit more comfortable. I realize that kids were enjoying their cooking a lot and they were keen to learn. The coleslaw came out pretty good and then their was a small fight to taste it. Next item was French Dressing and followed pretty much the same sequence. For russian salad we got the vegies boiled under adult supervision and mixed all the stuff in front of the kids. All the salads were kept in the fridge so that we can have them in the end.
We had a langar type of setup in the end and all of us enjoyed the salads. Some of the questions which stumped me were
– Why does not mayonnaise go bad if it has eggs in it?
– Why are you putting so much Mayonnaise?
– How can it become so creamy when you mix oil and vinegar?
– French Dressing is from France, Russian Salad from Russia but what about Coleslaw?
I don’t even want to write what my answers were. The day ended with home work for all the kids. The home work was to ask their parents what they do with left overs at home. The idea was to help them understand all the great things they can make with left overs.
I was certainly feeling more comfortable by end of day with kids as well as my teaching skills.
PS: These cooking lessons were part of the summer camp organized by Noah’s Show.