PLATTSBURGH — Maggie LaBarge was one of a baker’s dozen who learned how to prepare healthy dishes during the Town of Plattsburgh’s Kids Cook It Up program.
LaBarge, 9, took part in the recent summer workshops because they “looked really fun, and I get to cook.”
It also helped kids pick up a sense of confidence in the kitchen, she added.
“You feel more mature,” she said of the progress she and her 12 classmates enjoyed during the week-long sessions.
One day, they learned how to make quesadillas and different summer dips.
LaBarge, who attends Cumberland Head Elementary School, enjoys helping her dad make French toast in the morning, and now she is excited about sharing some of the recipes she has mastered at Kids Cook It Up.
Hannah Charlebois, 10, a Morrisonville Elementary School student, has also had experience at home, making tacos and pasta. But she said the classes helped her learn more about cooking, in general.
“We’re learning how to use different ingredients and how to set the oven (correctly for cooking temperatures),” she said. “We’ve also learned about using the food processor.”
Charlebois also appreciated learning about different cultures from the variety of foods she and her companion chefs mixed up.
Kids Cook It Up, which has been offered by the town as a summer activity for the past several years, is open to children ages 9 to 12.
“Our focus is on getting the kids used to using knives and other basic kitchen utensils while introducing new foods that they may not otherwise try at home,” said Erin Pangborn, the town’s recreation program coordinator, who oversees the cooking sessions.
“We want to introduce them to different foods they can try rather than canned or frozen foods they may be familiar with.”
The program also supports the Recreation Department’s goal of providing activities that promote the well-being of the community, she added.