There are a lot of rules for the first week of cooking class, and a lot of them have to do with knives: how to hold a knife, how to pass a knife, how to cut with a knife, how not to cut fingers with a knife, how to wash the knives. All the students were attentive and wide-eyed as they listened, and a couple admitted they were a little nervous about the knives. Nonetheless, they put on their aprons and chef’s hats, and got to work.

After reviewing the recipe, the first step was to make the granola, the topping for the yogurt fruit parfait. It had to be assembled and baked in the oven. There were lessons for how to measure butter (just read the marking on the wrapper) which Ny’Asia Damon mastered beautifully; and how to pack the brown sugar into the measuring cup, which Kyle Hunter did like a pro. Ariannie Morales, who cooks at home with her Dad who is a chef, was pretty adept at stirring the butter and sugar over the stove, while Kyle and Ny’Asia carefully measured out the rest of the granola ingredients: oats, quinoa, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. It was all mixed together and Ariannie stirred in the melted butter and sugar; it was spread out on a sheet pan and popped in the oven.

Now it was time to actually use the knives, and it wasn’t nearly as scary as it sounded. Starting with the strawberries, the tops had to be removed and the berries cut into bite sized pieces. Carefully with concentration they cut, and cut and cut, until they have a beautiful bowl of strawberries. Then they proceeded to the blackberries and raspberries, until all the fruit was chopped.

As they waited for the granola to brown, they begin making the foundations of their parfaits. A layer of yogurt, followed by a layer of fruit, another layer of yogurt, and then morefruit. They were using clear plastic glasses and each took pride in creating their own personal masterpiece. Kyle kept stepping back to see the layered affect. Ny’Asia lined the top of hers with a circle of raspberries. Ariannie was very particular about the final touch. “One more blackberry,” she said, adding one to the top.

Finally the granola was a perfect golden brown and it was pulled from the oven, transferred to a bowl, and raisins were stirred in. Then each student added a generous spoon of granola as a topping to their parfaits. Viola. They were beautiful, overflowing and ready to be eaten!

The children sat down and dug into the beautiful dishes they prepared. The table was all smiles and silence as they spooned the delicious concoction into their mouths.

“Good and amazing,” said Kyle.

“Best thing I’ve ever had,” said Ny’Asia.

“So Flavorful,” says Ariannie.

Kyle said when he first arrived, he didn’t really want to be there, but once he started cooking, it got more and more fun. “Then when I ate the food, it was really good.”

“I feel happy at cooking class,” wrote Ny’Asia in her journal.

And when her older sister arrived to pick her up, she said flatly,. “I don’t want to leave.”

And Ariannie echoed this sentiment: “I kind of don’t want the class to end.”

The good new is, we’re back next week to make Sloppy Joes!