Saturday, August 8, 2015

Suffolk Girl Scouts Learn their Way around the Kitchen

This summer, 15 Suffolk Girl Scouts had the opportunity to learn their way around the kitchen thanks to a grant from the Suffolk Foundation. The girls gathered for four weekly meetings with experts from Young Chefs Academy to develop their cooking skills, test some recipes in the kitchen and learn about healthy living.

During the series, girls made a wide variety of dishes, including bean burgers, carrot and sweet potato fries, chicken soup and quesadillas with fresh salsa. In addition to honing their cooking skills, the girls also learned about kitchen safety, menu planning, dining etiquette and table setting.

On the final evening of the series, girls put all of their new skills to the test to prepare an Italian feast. They made tomato sauce from scratch, kneaded dough to make focaccia bread and made their own spinach noodles. The girls enjoyed the process of running their dough through the pasta machine to create thin noodles. They also put together a strawberry, basil and balsamic salad to complement the meal. After the tables were set and the food was plated, girls had the opportunity to enjoy the mea they had prepared.

“Many of the recipes have incorporated vegetables in fun and unique ways,” Girl Scout volunteer Dina Crewe said. “That’s great because we have a couple of picky eaters in the group, but they have sampled everything they’ve made and liked most of it.”

Through the series, the staff from Young Chefs Academy taught girls that cooking is a lifelong skill that can be infused with creativity and fun. Although the girls had recipes to follow, they also had the chance to be creative and make their own culinary discoveries. The girls also learned about how meal planning can lead to healthier food choices, talked about keeping their body fueled with good nutrition and looked at how their diet affects their energy levels.

Girl Scouts recognizes that healthy lifestyles are part of the foundation that girls need to become strong leaders. From the youngest Girl Scout Daisies who may learn to create healthy snacks to the oldest Girl Scout Ambassadors who are empowered to advocate for healthier food choices at their schools, Girl Scouts of all ages are engaged in activities to help them attain practical life skills related to healthy living.