BRD offers class for young chefs

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eight boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 11 crowded aroundthe oven Monday at the Brookhaven Recreation Department to seetheir first creation of the week: Blueberry pancakes.

The oohs and ahhs filled the room just like the smell of thehome-cooked treat

Class instructor Harriett Proffitt said the children not onlyenjoy the eating that goes along with the class, but the actuallearning and creating their own yummy treats. Proffitt said sheenjoys the giving part of it as well, and sees it as a chance toconnect with children.

“I used to be the kindergarten director at the church,” shesaid. “I just enjoy sharing my love for cooking with the kids, andthrough them, with the community.”

The group worked in pairs to mix the blueberry pancake batterand put it into containers to be baked, which Proffitt said helpsthem learn about working in teams. Then they painstakingly tookturns cutting the creations into eighths.

After that, they were able to sit down with their classmates andhave breakfast, choosing from toppings like blueberry syrup, maplesyrup and powdered sugar.

“You can never have too much powdered sugar,” said 11-year-oldMason Hall.

Proffitt seemed to notice the powdered sugar phenomenon aswell.

“So I guess your favorite topping is definitely the powderedsugar?” she asked the class, who agreed heartily.

But the class, which is the second one at the BrookhavenRecreation Department this summer, teaches children not only abouthow to cook, but also other helpful skills around the kitchen.

“I teach them more than just cooking,” Proffitt said. “I teachthem to set the table and clean up after themselves, too.”

And she said the fun of the class is the different dishes thechildren learn to make each day.

Monday was blueberry pancake day, and Tuesday the specialty is”Tic Tac Toe Pizza.” Wednesday’s delicacy is one called “CrazyCaterpillars,” and Thursday rounds out the week with “Fluffy PeanutButter Dip” and “Tutti Fruity Smoothies.”

Proffitt said she was really pleased with the turnout of theclass this time.

“We only had three students last time,” she said. “And this oneturned out to be a great group. But next time I might split them upa little more by age.”

Recreation Department Director Terry Reid said he feels thecooking class is a great opportunity for kids who may not beinterested in sports to find an activity they, too, can be a partof for the summer.

“The recreation department and Harriett do this class togetherbecause it’s fun for the kids, but also it gives kids who might notaspire to be athletes or who might not enjoy sports a chance to dosomething in their off time, too,” he said. “We try to make sureour classes are diverse so there’s something for everyonehere.”

Proffitt said there had been several inquiries for another classto be held at the recreation department this summer, and that shewas pondering that possibility as well as the possibility of anadvanced class for adults.

Department officials said future cooking classes are apossibility, but there’s nothing immediately in the works.