I Baked Some More Cookies Today
Bella signed up to take a foods class at school this year. It’s a course that she’s been excited to take since grade 9.
After spending the first two weeks going over essentials like culinary safety and food handling rules, they finally got into the kitchen to make something. Their first cooking effort was to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies. They’ve also made cinnamon buns, peanut butter cookies, and countless other assorted sweets so far this school year.
Bella recites the ingredient list for us from memory for the various recipes in sharing her new-found culinary skills with us. The one thing all of these recipes have in common, aside from the fact it seems they mostly bake in foods class, is an inordinate amount of lard. Crisco to be exact. (And in googling this, I’ve come to discover that lard and Crisco should no longer be used synonymously as the former is animal fat and the later is made from veggies).
I learned to bake alongside my mother in the 80s and 90s. I remember buying only one new container of Crisco in all that time. I can only recall using it once or twice and I was so grossed out by its consistency. Fast forward a few decades and we’re under the threat posed by trans-fats and hydrogenated oils. We’re all about preaching healthy eating and nutrition to our kids. We get Jamie Oliver to come and revolutionize our western cafeterias.
Doesn’t the school see the irony of pairing nutrition lessons with a foods class that focuses primarily on baking? In a school system where they regulate what kind of foods can, and cannot, be sold in a cafeteria, I’m kind of surprised that this is what my daughter is learning in foods class.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for baking. I’m the baker in our household. I just made a chocolate beet cake today for a colleague’s birthday. I’ve
never, okay maybe just once, met a chocolate chip cookie I didn’t like.
In a school that prides applied learning, and giving kids skills for life, I’m pretty sure that foods class needs to expand its horizons beyond the baked good. No matter how heavenly (and lard) filled it may be.
Then I made the mistake of asking if Bella if they had cooked any food. And by food I meant something you could eat as a main course. Bella responded in the affirmative. So far they’ve made quesdillas, pizza burgers, and taco pie. I’m not joking. I had to ask what taco pie was. Apparently so gross that even Bella wouldn’t touch eat (and she’s a kid who will try to eat pretty much everything and has successfully managed to choke down some of our own dinner experiments gone wrong).
The future life skills being acquired by our kid is how to cook herself a heart attack in a box. It’s contributing to the slow death of her foodie parents.
Otto and I have offered to loan some of our culinary skills to her teacher. We’ll teach them how to roast a chicken. Or make a salad. Or anything that involves real food, that’s been minimally processed, and doesn’t sound like a recipe that you find on the side of a box or in 1960s cookbook.