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Families Step Up to the Plate for the Batter Up! Cooking Experience

July 19, 2013

By: Jack Shah

For the past six summers, the Pujols Family Foundation and Dierbergs School of Cooking have teamed up to offer the Batter Up! Cooking Experience to families that have a child with Down syndrome. The Foundation hosts 12 classes in St. Louis and four classes in Edwardsville, IL from June through August. Families enjoy a two-hour instructional cooking session, which allows families to be hands-on in creating an entire menu. This year’s menus featured either Italian cuisine or classic Americana.

The particular class I attended created the Italian menu, which features St. Louis-Style Italian Salad, Bruschetta, Cheesy Garlic Bread, Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs, Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, & Strawberry Cannoli Crepes. The menu features something for everyone and had families eager to start.

As families arrived, they received two Batter Up! aprons specific to this year’s event. For some families, this was their first time coming to a class. For others, they had become seasoned veterans, eager to showcase their skills. After speaking with the families, I was quickly made aware that a few families have attended a class each year it was offered. A few families proudly told me about their collection of aprons, and how the color changes each year. All were excited for this year’s featured color of royal blue…especially the boys. After a brief description of the recipes, groups paired up around the kitchen and began to prepare their assigned dishes. As wonderful smells filled the kitchen, I was tempted on more than one occasion to sample an item!

Soon, all the cooking was completed and the chefs settled around the kitchen into their seats, eager to dig into the feast they just prepared. The kitchen changed from a bustling environment during the cooking, to a quiet repose as everyone enjoyed the meal. As we cleaned up, several families excitedly asked what next year’s menu would be. Unfortunately, I did not have an answer for them, but I am sure it will still be a hit!

Jack Shah is currently serving as an intern with the Pujols Family Foundation.


July 19, 2013
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