Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Teenage Terror

(or, my house is still standing after the cooking lesson)

Tonight I taught a cooking class for one.

One teenager.

One boy teenager.

One boy teenager who I’ve never met before.

How did this come to pass? It’s a long involved story – but the SHORT PART is, he has something going on medically. He hasn’t been able to attend school at all this year. Next week they’ve got an appointment at the Mayo Clinic to see if they can pinpoint the problem and develop a cure plan. (or whatever you call it.)

So – he’s been housebound since the end of August. He, and his family are going stir crazy. Because of what’s going on – most activities – like sports – are out. He has a real hard time concentrating. Almost NO short term memory retention. But the local docs have suggested that having a routine – and doing SOME activity is important to his long-term well-being and recovery. He likes cooking. So his parents sent an e-mail out to our Sunday school class asking if anyone was up for giving cooking lessons.

No one responded (that I could tell) so even though my life is pretty crowded with travel and obligations, I sent an e-mail saying I’d be willing to try and do class once every two weeks.

Tonight was class one. I devised a curriculum, set some goals, planned the menu, and did the shopping. In future classes he’ll plan the menus – and he and his parents will do the shopping.

One of the things I learned from him is he’s an auditory learner. So – I read the recipes, out loud to him, and then we wrote a plan about how we’d cook the meal.

One of the dishes had to be cut in half, so I had him do the math and scale down the recipe.

I taught him how to work with jalapeños – and to always wear gloves when working with capsaicin products.

We toasted coconut (Wow! It toasts fast!) Used the food processor to mix cilantro, the coconut, and green onions into a pesto that was mixed into the ginger/jalapeño jasmine rice.

He learned that ¼ of teaspoon of salt – was to be spread both sides of each of the four chicken breasts, and that even if you REALLY LIKE SALTY THINGS, maybe a ½ teaspoon per side is a little too much.

Cast iron handles get hot.

It’s important to keep tossing veggies in the wok.

It’s satisfying to eat what you’ve made.

I guess we did ok, because when I dropped him off at the end of the evening he was talking about, “next time, let’s do it on X day.” And I, the person that always feels awkward and goofy around “kids” – is looking forward to what menu he’ll decide he wants us to tackle.


Anonymous said...

What a great thing to do !!! More, more, more on this story ? He MUST have enjoyed himself it he was talking about next time !!! Keep up the good work - proud of you !!! tp

Megan said...

This is a great story. I cant wait to read about next time. God bless you for stepping up!

mamie said...

You've got a heart of gold. I love it when something like this happens - it can change a life. You go, girl!

Geggie said...

Sounds like a pretty good night to me. Good company and a tasty dinner. Mission accomplished.

Jonah K. Haslap said...

I wish I had had someone to teach me about the joys of food when I was a teenager, instead of force feeding me broccoli and undercooked chicken. Good for you.

And thanks for visiting my blog!