Using the Kitchen

The recent barbecue is not the only extra-curricular activity the school kitchen has seen.   Earth science has found a real affinity for the kitchen.  The sedimentary cookies (with oatmeal, raisins, and chocolate chunks) worked well but the igneous fudge was only a success from a science lesson standpoint. The fudge never did solidify.  That lava is still flowing. 

The junior girls figured out early that homemade brownies and lemon blueberry muffins could earn some tidy cash at bake sales.  They’ve had two baking sessions already.  The middle school reduced their manufacturing costs and maximized profits with their pancake sale.  The seniors better get moving soon to capture a food sales niche. 

Earlier this week the Spanish class had a quesadilla and homemade salsa lesson. 

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Some of the leftovers found their way to the rest of the school.  There may be an after school quesadilla sale soon.

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Excited about eating, and happy to BBQ*

It’s mid-autumn festival and time to barbeque with family and friends.

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The students put on their annual school barbeque last night.  At AST we have students who are used to running the show.  They start in middle school with running meetings and making all announcements at weekly assemblies.  By the time they get to high school they organize complicated events with ease.

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I was chaperoning the kitchen activity for the barbeque. All I really needed to do was answer questions about where to find the pots and pans. The students prepped mountains of vegetables, cooked a Taiwanese barbeque, and cleaned up beautifully.  (except for some spills in the new oven which I want to take care of – anyone have good oven cleaning suggestions?)

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Some of the food was unfamiliar to me like these mushrooms and a cross between a gourd, melon, and cucumber.

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Baby corn is almost all husks and corn silk, doesn’t really seem worth the effort.

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The outer layer of the bamboo (?) is peeled and you eat the tender inner bit.

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No one could quite agree on what these cakes were made of….maybe very mild fish?  But everyone agreed they were tasty and well worth eating.

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Lots and lots of volunteers in the kitchen. For some reason the tiny bright pink bunny apron is most popular with the biggest guys.  They run to be the first to get to it.  Seriously.  Every class.

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The barbecue also included a volleyball tournament in the (air conditioned!) gym and a movie for those who were feeling less energetic.  By the time the late bus left at 7:30 that night the high school students were playing very informal volleyball (some of the players switched sides as needed and there was always a helping hand for a serve that wasn’t going to make it over the net), others were playing basketball, and the sixth graders were taking notes on how they were going to be the big kids one day.


*the school slogan is “Excited about learning, and happy to be here”  but one of the posters for the barbeque had this version

Upping Our Game

There’s always an adjustment at the beginning of a school year. We have a new crop of teachers and a new crop of students.  Some things stay the same while other things inevitably change.

Maybe this is just a function of us starting our second year, but there seems to be a new level of energy at school this year.  Somehow the new building (gym/cafeteria/kitchen classroom) and the programs established by our new set of very experienced ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teachers, and the after school programs for the elementary school, and a whole host of other things settling in place has led to a real excitement at the school.  The level of collaboration is amazing.  Just in the kitchen we’ve had science classes and ESOL classes and Spanish classes in addition to the regular cooking and nutrition classes and after school clubs for both high school and elementary school.  But it’s not just collaboration in the kitchen.  Everywhere I turn there are conversations about new things we could do at school – and then they happen!

This is very exciting.  I really feel I have to be doing my best to keep in the game with these colleagues.

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Ladies Who Lunch – a busy Saturday

We are a social bunch.  Last Saturday many of the female teachers got together ostensibly for Abi’s birthday.


It could have been for any occasion really because we all love chocolate and good pastries.  Vickey made reservations for us at Colettes.   Carol dusted off her garden party hat and we all put our on our party frocks.


But wait! That’s not all!  It was also the day of Rod’s art show opening. We got very lost looking for Stock 20, the gallery showing Rod’s work.  It wasn’t surprising that we couldn’t find the place – it’s on the far side of the train tracks. We actually had to walk through the train station to find it.  Carol and Simo got so lost they finally parked their car and took a taxi.  We didn’t take the hint when we saw them get out of the taxi.  30 minutes later we finally circled back to the Mode Mall shopping center and parked. Fortunately we were still in time to see Rod’s work.


And THEN Rod and Michiko introduced us to a wonderful Chinese restaurant on the other side of the train tracks.  We ordered the same food we have had in other restaurants, but it was cooked with such care that the result was far above other restaurants we tried. I would tell you what the restaurant was but the only business card I picked up is only in Chinese.

Rod and Michiko drove us back to the mall to pick up our car. We thought we’d explore a little before we headed home.  Then we found Uniqlo.  Lovely clothes there.  Several shirts and pairs of pants later we finally made it home.


I love this kitchen!

The 5th graders made biscuits with chopped vegetables and cheese today.


It’s a messy business.  They did a great job on the biscuits and it’s a recipe that they enjoy.  But last time I made biscuits in cooking class it took two hours to bake everything and clean up.


This time it took 45 minutes.


And that’s with a 5th grade class where I have to wash the dishes.  (The high school class washes their own dishes and cleans up the kitchen.  They do a very good job of it so I have nothing left to do when their class is over.)

45 minutes is the longest I have spent cleaning up in the new kitchen.  Most days it is only about 15 minutes.

I love this kitchen.