This week, we had a make-up class due to an earlier cancellation. So we were making the Tuna Melts from Week 2 on Week 7. And the students were very excited to make our first dessert, Jelly Donut Muffins, in preparation for our final class and party.

But first we had to settle on what we would make when hosting and cooking for their families and special guests that last week. There were votes for almost everything we made (except the Ratatouille) but we came to an agreement on Spaghetti with Turkey Sausage. There was a strong push to make guacamole and tortilla chips as an appetizer, but for a few reasons (including time constraints and teacher Bonita Bell’s contention that it would all be eaten before the guests arrived!) we opted for garlic bread instead. Christopher Duran, who loves that guacamole, asked if he could make it at home and bring it to the party. Yes, he was told, indeed you can.

We started with the dessert, because after reading both recipes, we realized it had to bake longer. The ingredients were measured and mixed (tablespoons, teaspoons and cups differentiated), an egg masterfully cracked , and muffin tins filled with the batter and popped in the oven.

Teacher Michelle Villalobos told the kids that Tuna Melts were the first meal she taught her own children to make because they were so easy that the kids could manage them alone, using the toaster oven. “You’ll see,” she said. “You’ll be able to make them yourself at home too.”

Most of the students had had tunafish before, but had not made it on an English muffin with tomato and cheese on top. Because we were making it for the class, we toasted the English muffins on a sheet pan, before creating an assembly line to put together the sandwiches: a spoon of tuna salad, a slice of tomato and then grated cheese on top. Then into the oven they went.

The reviews for both tuna melts and donut muffins were good, as evidenced by the empty plates at the end of the meal, though most allowed that the muffins didn’t really look or taste like a jelly donut, though they were yummy.

As for the tuna melts, Christopher’s take was understated: “Not bad at all.”

Zoe Smith, liked it okay, but didn’t like the celery, while Mackenzie Forchion said she loved the crunch the celery added. Alyssa Pagan discovered that celery was her new favorite vegetable and wanted to take the remaining stalks home. She loved the tuna melts and the celery.

“That’s the beautiful thing about learning to cook,” I told them. “You can make these at home just the way you like it. You can make it with celery or not, with tomatoes or not. You get to decide!”

— Maureen Fitzgerald, Founder and Teacher