People bond over a good meal, but more so when they prepare it together. At a recent a recent private group lesson, which is a cooking lesson in the comfort of your own home, I had the pleasure of seeing a group of kids form new friendships as they made a home cooked meal for their moms.
A client had won an auctioned Cooking Italiano Group Lesson / Birthday Party Package for her 8-year-old daughter, but instead of waiting for her birthday, she wanted to have a “cooking play date” for 7 kids in which we would make enough food for them and their moms. The menu would include five favorite dishes from my after-school classes: Handmade Fettuccine Pasta with a Homemade Marinara Sauce, Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Garlic Bread and for dessert, Gelato Sundaes.
On a warm Saturday afternoon, I pulled into the client’s house in the Pacific Palisades to begin the lesson by creating the chocolate gelato, as it takes the most time to simmer the custard, freeze and churn it.
Who Doesn’t Love Gelato?
Once the gelato was busy churning, we focused on making fresh pasta. Using our “pasta tree” (otherwise known as a pasta drying rack) and our pasta machines, we turned eggs and flour into silky, smooth fettuccine. Kids love to use the pasta machine because it’s very hands-on and fun to use the machine’s hand-crank to make the pasta dough thinner and thinner until we can send the dough through the fettuccine attachment.
Meanwhile, the moms seemed to be enjoying themselves as they relaxed in the living room. One kid asked, “Do you think they miss us?” As the sounds of laughter echoed from the mom-filled room complete with champagne and a platter of fruit, cheese and crackers, I responded with a grin, “I think they’re doing just fine.”
Halfway through the lesson, we began chopping vegetables for the salad using kid-friendly lettuce knives. The girls enjoyed the chopping, as well as whisking and taste-testing the balsamic vinaigrette.
After dinner, the kids bolted outside to play, but I corralled them back in the kitchen with a simple question, “Who wants to make gelato sundaes?” We then whipped up homemade whipped cream and made a quick chocolate sauce. In an assembly line, we cranked out fourteen sundaes with a scoop of vanilla and chocolate gelato topped with fudge, whipped cream and strawberries that everyone enjoyed.With the sauce simmering and the garlic bread in the oven, we cooked the fresh pasta and prepared the dinner buffet. The girls were beaming with pride and the mothers too as we enjoyed the pasta, salad and garlic bread. A few moms complimented me on the tenderness of the fettuccine, while the kids were raving about the garlic bread.
New Friendships Formed
During the lesson it seemed to me that all the girls were old friends. Later, however, I found out that for a few of the girls, this was their first time spending time together outside of school. My client enjoyed how this “cooking play date” kept the kids happy and engaged as she had an opportunity to bond with their moms. Leaving the house that evening, I reflected how amazing it was to see my work result in people coming together.