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The Kitchen Is Heating Up This Summer

September 10, 2012

By: Jen Cooper

As excited pairs of children and parents entered the School of Cooking at Dierbergs Markets, the environment was set for a fulfilling and fun experience. Bright green (this year’s featured color) Batter Up! aprons were draped on the back of all of the chairs surrounding the kitchen. Nametags were written and placed over the apron so that new names were shared and new friends could be made. The experienced and energetic instructors along with their kitchen assistants greeted all of the participants and proceeded to go over the kitchen rules with the menu. The “ooohs” and “aaahs” could be heard as each recipe was explained. This year’s 13 cooking classes featured two different menus. The Caribbean Crazy menu spotlighted several recipes from the kitchen of Deidre Pujols including chimichurri burgers, empanadas and a frozen peach batida drink. In addition, the classes also prepared a tropical fruit salad, reggae rice pilaf and key lime tartlets for dessert. The other menu was Back to Basics which included meatloaf Italiano, oven fried chicken, twice baked potatoes, zucchini roma, a garden salad with homemade Mayfair dressing and for dessert, a classic strawberry shortcake.

With such ambitious menus and less than two hours to complete everything, everyone was ready to get started. With much anticipation the pairs made their way to each recipe station, already set with the needed ingredients and equipment. Each team worked diligently, making sure to prepare a dish scrumptious enough to impress all of their fellow chefs. As the food was finishing cooking, baking and chilling, the kitchen was being prepared for the feast that was soon to begin. As plates and silverware were being set, the anticipation in the room was palpable. Once everything was ready, the class got to get in line to fill up their plates. As everyone made it back to their seats, something was different in the room…it was quiet! The constant chatter and joking had given way to singular focus on enjoying the food. Dessert was soon to follow.

As everyone was finishing up, it was clear that no one was in a rush to leave, as people stuck around to visit with friends old and new. As family by family exited the cooking school, they were not just leaving with a full stomach but also with their bright green aprons, a copy of all the class recipes and memories of good food and great friends.

In the summer of 2012, the Pujols Family Foundation hosted 17 Batter-Up Cooking Experiences in Missouri and Illinois. Over 300 people attended. We are looking forward to another 12 classes being hosted in Kansas City in Fall 2012.

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Date:
September 10, 2012
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