The last week of cooking class is always a happy-sad occasion. Our young chefs are always happy for all the fun they’ve had and all they have learned. But it’s a little sad that it’s the last time our chefs and teachers will be together as a class. “I’m going to miss this,” Madeline Rookwood said. “The things we did were fun,” added Dariel Cordero. “I like to cook,” said Jamal Gill. “I liked the experience.”

For our last class, our chefs picked Buttermilk Roast Chicken to share with family and friends, plus an extra recipe for cornbread that Ms. Linda had brought in from a previous class. The chicken had been a huge hit when we first cooked it in Week 3, and its popularity never faded (though Madeline loved the Chicken Tortilla Soup from Week 4).

For a second recipe the class chose the sweet and firm texture of the cornbread over a more traditional dessert. With guests coming, our chefs got another lesson on how math works in cooking, because they had to double each recipe. That meant four cups of buttermilk and twice the spices for the chicken, and double the cornmeal, eggs and sugar for the cornbread.

Yandel Vazquez and Dariel Cordero took the lead on the chicken, and Madeline eagerly joined them, since she had missed the class in which we made chicken the first time. All three enjoyed smushing the chicken in Ziploc bags to marinate the drumsticks and employed different techniques arranging the chicken on the flat pans. Dariel showed Madeline how your hands can be great cooking tools when you want to do things quickly, while Yandel worked on his skills using tongs to grip each piece. All three couldn’t wait to see how the big, plump drumsticks would brown and be ready for our guests.

For the cornbread, Madeline joined Magavi Cortes to help Ms. Linda measure and whisk the ingredients into a smooth and colorful yellow batter and pour it into tins. Because we were doubling the recipe, we used a muffin tin as well as a cake pan for cooking, which was a happy surprise for Yandel. “There are muffins, too?” he said with a big smile. Because the cornbread cooked at a lower temperature, it came out of the oven first and smelled so good Madeline and Magavi waved their hands toward their noses to fully appreciate the aroma.

When the chicken was ready, Dariel and Yandel arranged it on a platter, and Yandel marched the big dish out to our guests. Both the chicken and cornbread were a hit, and Magavi’s grandmom liked the cornbread so much she even asked for seconds. At the end of the meal, we had a little goodbye ceremony, and our chefs were pleased to get certificates of achievement and a memory book that told the story of our class week by week. “I had fun,” Yandel said, speaking for all. “I like cooking.”