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2014 BatterUp! Family Cooking Experience
June 10, 2014
The smells wafting from the Dierberg’s West Oaks store kitchen on a Tuesday just before lunch were simply enticing. They even drew children of grocery shoppers away from the checkout area so they could peak through the kitchen’s glass walls to catch a glimpse of the room full of chefs sitting down to enjoy a colorful array of cooking successes.
But it was no easy work. For an hour, about seven sets of chefs under the direction of Dierberg’s cooking instructor Diane worked together to slice and dice avocados, tomatoes, green onions, potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli florets, zucchini, lemons and more. And after that came the tossing and seasoning, basting and marinating, turning and stirring and actual cooking going on.
So when it was time to sit down and enjoy the beautiful and colorful meal they had just created, the chef teams, which consisted of moms and their child with Down syndrome, were ready to savor it all.
“Mackenzie must have kissed me three times and she just kept saying it’s healthy,” said Jackie of her daughter, Mackenzie, who especially enjoyed the honey dijon chicken.
The Farm-to-Fork Feast with the Dierberg’s Culinary Staff was held on June 10 and is just one of 14 cooking class opportunities this summer through the Pujols Family Foundation’s BatterUp! Family Cooking Experience. The classes are an opportunity for those with Down syndrome to learn cooking skills in a fun, hands-on setting while cooking alongside a parent.
Barbara Behlman, who’s 21, helped prepare an avocado salsa and a veggie pasta and said her favorite part was the chicken too.
For her mom, Karen Behlman, “My favorite part is cooking with Barbara. She amazes me in the kitchen with all the things she can do.”
Each class is two hours and the chefs work together to create a full-course meal and then get to enjoy it together. The Dierberg’s West Oak classes are from 10 am to noon, while classes at the Clarkson/Clayton and Edwardsville Crossing locations are in the evening.
And the menus are much more ambitious and adventuresome – and healthier – than most typical fare.
In the case of the June 10 class, the Farm-to-Fork Feast menu provided a wonderful array of vegetables and seasonings that came together to create the wonderful aroma:
Appetizer: Avocado salsa was made from fresh tomatoes, avocados, green onions and cilantro and fresh squeezed lime juice.
Greens: ‘Everyone’s Favorite Broccoli Salad’ included florets with the stems carefully removed and golden raisins in a light mayonnaise and light sour cream dijon dressing.
Protein: Grilled honey dijon chicken tenderloins were basted in a lemon, honey and soy sauce marinade seasoned with dijon and rosemary.
Grains and starch: The grilled veggie pasta included zucchini, carrots, yellow bell pepper, lemon, tomato and light seasoning. And steamed red potato packets were seasoned with herbs and garlic.
Dessert: Peach shortcakes in which chefs made the whipped cream.
At the end of the class, each chef and parent can take home their BatterUp! apron, which is a new color each year.
“We’ve come to several, I think four or five,” Karen Behlman said. “We both enjoy cooking and this is one of our favorite (PFF) activities. … Barb loves to help me in the kitchen at home and the recipes here give us different ideas and teach us new techniques. ”
Whether a family has attended every year or if this was their first time, the Pujols Family Foundation BatterUp! Family Cooking Experience is a “fan favorite” amongst all of the participants.