Culinary Arts Project at camp! (The proposition)

As I mentioned once already, my summer job is teaching at a local day camp. While my job is technically head of the Drama Department, I have become a dutiful worker in the Arts & Crafts department. I wouldn’t say I’ve traitorously abandoned my post, but rather supplemented my job description. Anyways, I spoke to some people, and an idea of mine has blossomed into reality! This Thursday, I will boldly take the “Art Shack” where it has never gone before. Forget collages, model magic, and friendship bracelets. This Thursday is devoted to the CULINARY ARTS!

Before you say, “Chris, what are you thinking? Teaching kids to cook at a camp that doesn’t allow scissors? Aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself?” just know that I don’t have any illusions about this project. I am fully aware that I am dealing with 6-10 year old kids who have the attention span of mosquitoes and the energy of chipmunks on PCP. Dangerous stuff indeed. So I’m planning on keeping it simple. I won’t be teaching the kids how to prepare a Creme Anglaise or pan-sear scallops. No mincing, sauteing, or boiling. I don’t need any kids going home with third degree burns or stumps for thumbs. Plus, I don’t think I could handle all those kids in the camp kitchen.

So I will be making sugar cookies and frosting, and the kids will get to decorate them. The kids will get to eat their “canvas.” Their artwork will be stored inside the refrigerator, not magnetically plastered all over the fridge door. This is an easy thing for the kids to do, and an easy thing for the counselors to monitor. Besides, kids love sugar.

If this goes well, then perhaps “Culinary Arts” will become a tradition. If this goes really well, a couple of kids might actually want to do some real cooking/baking.

Today, I picked out my recipe (“Best Sugar Cookies” from and purchased all my ingredients. As of now, I’m tripling the recipes. I might need to quadruple it. Testing a recipe out before serving it to other people is a rule that I am about to break, big time. But in all honesty, over 2500 people have reviewed this sugar cookie recipe, so I’ll be fine. Right? I’ll probably end up using the deliciously simple buttercream frosting from the Joy of Cooking. Seeing as my candy thermometer is M.I.A. and I need to make about a bajillion servings, this will do. I’ll make a bunch of different colors for the kids using our inordinate collection of food coloring. How we ended up with so much I dunno…

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