Kids invited to learn to cook at Northern Tier Library

Friday, August 2, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Summer may be in its final weeks, but children ages 8 to 12 still have the opportunity to attend one last weeklong camp at Northern Tier Regional Library and hone their culinary skills in the process.

Chef Carol Nardello, who has taught a number of programs for adults and children at the library, will lead Super Food Sleuths, an investigation into some of the healthiest and most nutritious foods available in a fun and tasty way.

“They cook as a team and there will be several teams depending on how many kids we have, and each day we’ll prepare a different menu,” Nardello said. “Then, on the fifth day, they will have a cooking competition, which they really enjoy, and by then they will have learned all kinds of wonderful skills.”

The menus will include healthy snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes, all incorporating ingredients that fall under the “superfood” category. Some of the dishes they will prepare include hummus, egg breakfast casserole with protein and vegetables, rainbow fruit salad, burrito bowl with southwestern flavors and beans, salsa, cheese, ground turkey and rice, a buddha bowl with brown rice, quinoa, kale, beets, edamame, purple cabbage and carrots with an herb dressing and peach cobbler.

They’ll also learn about concepts such as cook once, eat twice, saving some of the salsa they’ll prepare on day one for the burrito bowl.

“They’ll have finished the program preparing wonderful superfood meals that are trendy, exciting and colorful,” she said. “At the end of the day, the aim is for the children to try things they haven’t tried in the past. It’s hands-on, they have ownership and a sense of pride and are more likely to try it. In the past, almost every class I’ve done with children, someone will say, ‘I thought I hated that but today it was so good.’ So that’s what we aim for.”

On the final day, the children will team up to research which recipe they want to make for the competition using the resources available at the library, then prepare their chosen dishes. At the end, they’ll all get to taste the different dishes served as a buffet.

Nardello will have help in the form of area teens who serve as team leaders, many of whom are returning from last year’s camp. While it’s great if kids have culinary skills coming into the camp, it’s not necessary, Nardello said.

“We’ll walk them through everything they have to learn,” she said, adding that teaching the children to properly clean up after cooking is also part of the process. “It’s wonderful team-building and the team leaders really encourage every child to do every part of the dish — measuring, stirring, everything. It works out really well. At the end, everybody’s pretty happy and that’s what we’re aiming for.”