Pastor's note: The following is an email sent to my neighbor after having her 3 daughters (ages 6-13) over to my house for a Christmas "cooking class."  All names have been changed to protect the guilty :)  I hope you enjoy our new links!

Hi Grace!

Just wanted to report that the girls behaved excellently in their first session of "Aunt Connie's Cooking Class."  Everyone had their own chores, and were kept busy.

We began class by having those who could write, take down the 2 recipes we used, on index cards. I believe Nikki was in charge of transporting said recipes home... you may have to check her pockets, haha.

I suspect that since we began as in a classroom atmosphere, it lent a professional ambiance to the occasion, thereby eliminating undo foolishness, and quarreling, etc.  (Nikki wished to know the meaning of etc. when her recipe referred to it, so a little English/vocabulary lesson was also inserted into the course).

Everyone behaved responsibly, I am delighted to report, with intermittent periods of tom-foolery, instigated by the teacher. Learning is often enhanced by occasional episodes of light-heartedness.
One incident of tom-foolery occurred during the time between the 2 recipes, when the cookies were in the oven. The teacher had previously turned on the stereo, and then lead the students into the dining/ballroom, where an impromptu dance class ensued. School dances became the leading topic of conversation and Nikki soon became the leader of the class. Michelle bemoaned the fact that she couldn't dance.

The teacher, moved by Michelle's plight, lead them in an adult style of the slow dance, until a more lively tune began.  While the teacher checked on the cookies, a fervent version of slam dancing broke out, resulting in a slight head injury suffered by Easter, as Nikki was instructing her with great enthusiasm. Upon checking said injury, the teacher was assuring that all was well, and with Nikki feeling very sorry for the accident, Easter then returned to the dance floor, without any retaliation against her former partner.

With all that pent up energy exorcised, the students returned to the kitchen, where the tedious stirring of the fudge commenced. Everyone took turns, (the youngest standing on a stepstool), while the eldest took charge of firmly holding onto the saucepan.

Eventually Michelle took over the fudge, which required great patience and fortitude...the younger girls needed a more active involvement...therefore the teacher involved them in the cooling of the cookies. Instructions were given on the importance of turning out baked cookies onto the inside of a clean paper bag. A demonstration on cutting the bag was given after a brief search of the kitchen, in an attempt to locate said bags.

Next came the careful transfer of warm cookies onto the bag.  It required some dexterity, but little Easter did surprisingly well without breaking a single one.

Finally the fudge was ready for the marshmallows, and each girl poured while Michelle continued to stir...I suggested the next time we might try the microwave, rather than the slow saucepan method!

At last the time came to pour the fudge into the carefully and thoroughly greased pan, which Easter had graciously provided. This involved 3 utensils, which were naturally covered with fudge, at the end of the process. The teacher handed one to each girl and instructed them to lick them clean. (This is one of the perks of being a cook, and besides I don't have a dishwasher, haha). Easter got the pan, and wasn't quite sure as to how to extract the remnant fudge.  The teacher held up her index finger, and said "Use your lickpot!"  Easter still looked a little confused, thereby causing me to belt out my rendition of "Little one, lean one, long one, lick-pot, thumbo"...complete with hand illustrations, (holding up each finger that coincided with each term).
Nikki seemed very familiar with the term lick-pot, as she proudly reported that Mrs. Shurbly taught some sort of cooking in back of her third grade classroom, and the student of the day got to assist...she would then tell the student to 'use your lick-pot' and let them clean out the pan!

Our class had just come to an end, when you called. The girls took the opportunity to return to the dining/ballroom and recess broke out as you and I talked...(hence, the background din).

All in all I'd say we each had a great time and our recipes turned out perfectly. The girls requested that I watch them as they walked home...they took their time, looking for deer, and trying to bare their treasures safely and proudly back to you.

I would have to say they each deserved an A+ in their first Culinary Arts class... in behavior, cleanliness (thorough handwashing was also included in the instructions, as well as the proper arrangement of hair), participation, attitude, citizenship, and edibility of products.

As their parents, you and Carl should be very proud!

Pastor Moser
December, 2002