Feb 7, 2014

Once upon a time….. and they baked happily ever after


There once was a little girl who clamoured to go to school even before she turned 2. She watched wistfully when all the ‘grown up kids’ would trudge to school with their backpacks and lunch boxes in hand. She longed to walk the walk too. Unable to put up with her clamour, her mom sent her along with an older girl to the friendly neighbourhood ‘nursery school’.

Once there, this little girl loved to drink in the sights of the class room. She adored the smiling teacher who would draw pretty pictures on the black board with coloured chalk. She took care to never upset the teacher because then, the teacher would make a very stern face and rap the offending child’s bottom with a small wooden ruler. Yes, these were the days before disciplining an errant kid by spanking was either sinful or unlawful. The mild spank had an immediate effect on all kids, for sure, for everyone would behave well for the next hour!

Our little girl would trudge home after school, wear her mom’s saree, find a pair of spectacles, perch them on her nose, use her slate and pencil as black board and would start her school. She taught invisible children, drew pretty pictures for them, sang them lilting nursery rhymes ( ‘I hear thunder’ became ‘Aaya thanda’) and did not forget to rap the noisy kids with her ‘ruler’! Her only aim in life was to become a teacher.

Have you guessed who this little girl is? Of course, it is me Open-mouthed smile

I got the chance to become teacher to a bunch of excited teenage girls who wanted to learn how to bake. They were fired up after hearing that their moms had attended a baking workshop that I conducted earlier in December. The moms and I had baked Basic Vanilla Sponge and Chocolate Cakes.

Chocolate cake made on the dayCake decorated ( splattered) with ganacheAnother chocolate cake better decorated

Catching the children young and teaching them Healthy Cooking is one of the best ways to teach them healthy eating habits. The moms were only too happy to let their young ones pick up useful skills.  I seized this opportunity to share several nutrition tips with the receptive children.

On the first day, the girls learnt how to make chocolate cake and frost it too. The second day was devoted to learning how to make whole wheat burger buns and pav bread. All girls took turns at kneading the dough. It  was fun to watch them set a stop clock for themselves and divide the kneading between them. We also enjoyed making black eyed bean burger patties, and a very healthy ‘bhaji’ using plenty of seasonal vegetables like sweet potato, fresh peas and cauliflower to go with the breads.

An eye on the bhajiVery enthusiastic young bakerProud kids setting the table

At the end of the workshop, the tired girls sat down to lunch on their own creations. Once they started eating, all tiredness was forgotten. They were so happy that they had learnt how to make their own burgers and super healthy ones at that. The pav bhaji was ‘superb’, ‘awesome’, ‘yummy’, they informed me in between mouthfuls.

Whole wheat sesame buns just out of the ovenBlack eyed bean patties in burger

Lunch - super healthy burgers, pav bhaji and chocolate cake

This was an amazing finish to the workshop. Did the participants enjoy the workshops? I think so. Did I like it? Of course, I loved and enjoyed every moment of both the workshops. Did I have to rap any kid? No, NO NOOO.. I did not.Rolling on the floor laughing Just look at them, aren’t they so adorable and happy?

All this would not possible without the help of my great friend Deepa Annigeri who hosted the workshop at her home. Thank you Deepa, for your support and help throughout.

One goofy picture for the record!


Subbu said...

The girls are lucky indeed to have had fun time and learning how to bake at the same time. Wish I got similar opportunities too!

Sujatha Jha said...

Wow, congrats Rajani! And all the best for the future. Its great to see kids get involved in cooking...then they will eat healthy and also make sure their family eats healthy!