Category: The Culinary Room

Grading Kitchen Lab Performance

Grading cooking labs is challenging mostly because you can’t see everything all at the same time, never mind write it down. I see many requests for lab evaluations. Here is what I could find that other teachers around the country use. Some are better than others. There are at least enough ideas to get you started in creating your own lab grading method.

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Fruit Lesson & Galette Lab

Consumption of fruit in the daily diet is important for all age groups!  What’s to love about fruit?  A lot actually!  Fruit is available in many forms from fresh to frozen to canned and even dried.  Fruit is a nutrient dense, low calorie food that can be eaten alone as a snack or incorporated into a meal or dessert.  Fruits can be eaten raw or cooked and there are so many to choose from, some more seasonal than others!  This fruit lesson focuses on the classification of fruits, how to select quality fruits and explores enzymatic browning. It also features delicious galette labs.  Galettes are unique to most students and a little different than making pies, but they are easy to make and amazingly delicious especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

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Plant Based Proteins Part I: Beans & Legumes

I am a big fan of Michael Pollan’s work!  I especially like what he has to say about food in his documentary “In Defense of Food”.  Even if I don’t have time to show my students the documentary in its entirety, I do like to focus on certain parts of it.  One in particular are his 7 words that he uses to sum up healthy eating: “Eat foods–Not Too Much–Mostly Plants”.  It’s a great way to introduce students to different plant based foods!  Read on to learn more about how those 7 words equate to a lesson about beans and legumes.

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The Basics of Soup!

Did you know that January is National Soup Month?  Soup is the perfect comfort food for a typically cold, winter month or any other day for that matter!  To celebrate this meal which has so much to offer in the way of health benefits, versatility in its types, and cultural ties, I’ve created a Hyper-Slide of activities to help students learn more about soup.  Read on to see how you can add a mini soup unit and lab to your repertoire!

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The Basics of Cake!

Students always want to bake cakes!  Maybe it’s because the cakes they get at home are typically prepackaged or out of a mix!  Don’t get me wrong…those are great once in awhile and have saved me on more than one occasion, when time was at a premium!  However, when talking to students, I get the impression that most only get scratch baked cakes in rare instances or on very special celebratory days!  I guess I was lucky growing up because my family baked cakes often, as desserts were a delicious way to end the evening meal!  Because of this, I was fortunate to be exposed to a variety of different cakes.  The funny thing is that while growing up, I thought there were tons of different types of cakes, but in reality there are only a couple! This lesson focuses on a cake overview of history, types, solving cake problems and includes some labs, focusing on the two basic types of cakes!

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Exploring Pasta

Pasta is one of my all time favorite units to teach in my Foods unit! Pasta is so easy, versatile, and economical that I feel every student should know how to prepare before they leave high school! I always tell my students that they will never go hungry if they know how to cook pasta. Use the provided slide to navigate through a variety of resources to learn more about pasta as your students complete this assignment and work their way into the lab.

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Cheese Balls Pantry Raid Lab

Cheese balls are often associated with parties, holidays and potlucks! But why limit them to just those events? I get to a point in the year when I have “a little of this and a little of that” leftover from other labs and taste tests. So I decided to have a pantry raid lab and have students make “cheese balls”. All I had to do was buy a block of cream cheese for each group and provide some parameters for the challenge. See below for more details.

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Knife Skills: A Hands-On Lesson & Lab

This hands-on lesson plan, shared by Marlee Barton of Kentucky, includes knife skill activities using Play-doh and graduating to real vegetables. A soup lab follows Sounds like a fun and delicious way to learn about knives!

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Spin a Stir-Fry Lesson & Lab

Need quick cooking recipes for your foods labs or dinner at home on a busy night? I know I do! That’s why I teach about stir-fry cooking! Not only is stir-fry cooking quick and easy, but it’s nutritious, colorful and fairly easy to clean up. So, after students investigate some basics of stir-fry cookery, they get to spin themselves a unique recipe for the class to sample. Try spinning yourself a stir-fry. Who knows, you might just find a new favorite, easy-to-go-to dinner!

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Crostini Appetizers: Mini-Lesson & Lab

You never know when you’re going to need a relatively quick and simple appetizer for entertaining that looks like you’ve spent hours preparing! Crostini to the rescue! I like to teach students that party foods don’t have to be super difficult, expensive or time consuming to pull together. The self-directed mini-lesson provides some background information about crostini and how to make them and then students get to pretend they have to pull together a few crostini appetizers for entertaining, using ingredients they have on hand. The creative possibilities are endless! As a tasty finale, students prepare and sample some hot and cold crostini in the lab! Yum!

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