cooking school

I've got to come up with nicknames for the kids-as it's getting old writing 'older son' and 'younger son'. Any ideas?

In any event, younger son has been attending cooking school since September. We're fueling his passion for food, which has been a good thing. The child definitely won't be eating Ramen noodles in college. Noooo, he'll probably be charming someone into cutting him a break on cans of crabmeat and making crabcakes for all his roommates. Can you really say the same of paying for a sports activity?

About a month ago, a reporter was at the cooking school asking questions for an article about the proliferation of these cooking programs for kids. He wondered if it was thanks to Food Network, which I'd have to say yes. Back when I was a kid, you had Graham Kerr (too flamboyant), Julia Child (pretty neat, when I got to see it) and Earl Peyroux. They were shown once a week or during the day while we kiddos were in school. Now, kids can watch at any time and these shows cover just about anything you can think of that involves food and cooking.

The reporter asked the owner several questions. Are the kids really into it? (YEAH. It's fun to sit in and watch them in action.) Do they pick up skills? (Yes, in addition to reinforcing math, science and reading without them realizing that additional element.) Are there any kids who have parents in the food business?

This is where my son came in. The director immediately thought of my son's excitement in the classes each week. He dressed as a chef for career day at school. She mentioned that I'd managed a food business and Ed had worked as a butcher. His sophistiated palate was also discussed, and the reporter was intrieged. She called me on the spot.

I ended up speaking with the reporter for about twenty minutes, telling him about son's passion for crabcakes and the photo essay of us making a batch, the nickname he's earned (crustacean kid) and his pride in developing his "Strawberry Heaven" cake for the Cub Scout Blue and Gold. We talked about the family history of working in restaurants. He asked if that was a career I'd encourage, knowing what I know. If he wants to, I'd be all for it, because work isn't work if you love it.

It ends up that the reporter was a freelancer and he shopped the article around, beyond the trade papers that he originally thought would be likely to run it. One of the local papers liked the article and bought it-and wanted to take pictures of the school and of our budding chef. The owner called us last week and invited him to attend cooking camp Monday morning, so the photographer could get some pictures. Cool deal.

We set off on Monday morning to cooking camp. We were under the impression it was a very generous invite to the one class. However, the owner told us that he was a guest all week. Wow. She explained that his enthusiasm is a joy for her to watch each week. It was her pleasure to have him in the classroom.

On Tuesday, she topped the already generous gift by giving us a gift certificate for older son to attend two of the summer classes. He gets to pick which weeks he wants to attend with his brother. He looked the summer agenda over and has chosen the two.

How do you thank someone for such a gift? She's helping to inspire my child by providing these classes, and she's giving US the gift? I'm blown away at the kindness. It all started with a simple desire to make his favorite food. We found out about this school, mentioned to him that it was opening and that was all she wrote. I'm pretty sure the child would have badgered us for a long time if we hadn't signed him up.

I can't think of the proper thank you. The kids will be making cards. When asked, budding chef said "I'll make them my Strawberry Heaven." I think that's a good start.

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