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Pine Grove Elementary School students write cookbook, Nature Coast Technical High culinary students cook their recipes

Jicenia Perez, 19, shows a group of Pine Grove Elementary School students how to prepare egg rolls in the Nature Coast Technical High School culinary classroom on April 22. The Pine Grove students compiled a cookbook of family recipes.


Jicenia Perez, 19, shows a group of Pine Grove Elementary School students how to prepare egg rolls in the Nature Coast Technical High School culinary classroom on April 22. The Pine Grove students compiled a cookbook of family recipes.


The Cubs Cuisine cookbook, which comes in three volumes, doesn't focus on only one type of food, like Italian cooking, Chinese cooking or vegetarian foods.

These recipes are a hodgepodge of dishes that come from all over the place. And that was just what Pine Grove Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Patricia Doyle wanted.

Her Family Recipe Classroom Project, which included Al Mendez's fourth-grade students and Debbie Torres' and Theresa McNeil's third-graders, was an attempt to involve students in an activity that includes their extended family members. Doyle wanted the students to learn about their ancestors and their ethnicity by producing cookbooks made up of family favorite recipes.

"When you pass down recipes," Doyle said, "you can be with and spend time with your families." Some family members came into the classroom to talk to the children and answer their questions. "We had several parent interviews that were just wonderful," she said.

The project covered skills in many subjects: social studies, writing, technology, reading, research, speaking and presentation, math and science. The students began by approaching family members for the recipes, which included pierogies and bacon, lumpia (a kind of egg roll), Grandma Jewell's 2½ bread, grape jelly meatballs, pumpkin cobbler and knepfla soup.

As the project progressed, the classes planned a trip to chef Peter Diulio's Nature Coast Technical High School culinary arts class to prepare some of the recipes. Doyle's class chose four recipes for the students to make: lumpia, chicken fingers, Irish soda bread and pumpkin cobbler.

The children were given a tour of the kitchen to see all the equipment. "Some of the students will never see this stuff," Diulio said.

The younger children seemed to amaze him when they tried the unusual foods. He said they ate everything.

"The questions they asked were highly intelligent," he said. "We asked them about how they got their recipes. They asked us about heat, whether it was chemical or physical cooking methods."

Senior Alexis Besser, 17, who hopes to get her baking degree, was impressed, too. "They knew just as much as we do," she said. "They knew everything." Alexis made the Irish soda bread.

Sophomore Humberto Sabater, 16, who hopes to have his own restaurant some day, enjoyed the younger students. "It was a good experience for me," he said.

Fifth-grader Kayla Storey, 11, who submitted her family's recipe for homemade vegetable soup, seemed to really appreciate the older students. "It looks like they worked so hard to make so much food for us," she said. "That was the best experience I ever had."

Destiny Keith, 11, who provided Daddy's gnocchi for her recipe, enjoyed the trip, too. "I think that the part I really liked about this project was when we went to Nature Coast and tried the lumpia and found out it was really good," she said.

Doyle outlined the goal of the project when she was raising funds for it. She described it as a multitiered project that focused on the historical/cultural impact of people and food throughout history and how food and culture bring new information and viewpoints to a country.

The project included a digital story that captured the manuscript production, family interviews and cooking demonstrations. It will be available to classes, educators, family members and the district.

The whole process, from the beginning to the published cookbooks, took about four months.

It began in January with about 80 students involved and the cost was about $2,000, which included the costs of colored pencils, reprints of the book made with the original free manuscript materials provided by Nationwide Learning, buses to Nature Coast Technical High School and DVD expenses.

Every student received a copy of the cookbook. The cover was designed by Doyle's daughter, sophomore Rebecca Doyle, 15, a Nature Coast Technical High School graphic arts student.

The fifth-graders spoke of what they learned from this project. Abby Holliday, 11, saw the value of measuring. "You don't want to get too much of something," she said.

Daytona VanSlee, 11, learned about tradition. "It got passed down from generations," he said.

Billy Jones, 11, whose recipe was dump cake, said, "It's called dump cake 'cause you dump the apples in the pan." He said he learned "that some people have some nice food."

Kole Kapp, 11, supplied a recipe for Italian Caesar salad. His favorite part of the project was, he said, "the food," but he learned a few things, too. "I found out where part of my origins were from (and) who my ancestors were, trying to find a recipe. That was interesting."

Adam Jackson, 11, said he learned, "food from other countries is good even if it sounds or looks different." Adam contributed German sauerkraut.

Cory Hayden, 11, had two thoughts about the project: "I think it was very interesting and delicious."

Pine Grove Elementary School students write cookbook, Nature Coast Technical High culinary students cook their recipes 06/03/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 4:30am]
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