From the Natrona County Library
Who doesn’t love delicious food? And if you can prepare those delicious foods yourself, even better! Cooking skills benefit us our entire lives and can lead to healthier lifestyles. This is why the Natrona County Library’s new Kitchen a la Cart by Edible Education is so exciting.
The Kitchen a la Cart is a portable cooking school that empowers students to learn essential culinary skills through hands on, teacher-led experiences. Children can learn so much beyond just cooking skills when they are in the kitchen. The benefits include math skills, science skills, cultural literacy, financial literacy, art and creativity, improved reading and vocabulary skills, and development of greater self-confidence. Cooking together as a group can strengthen communication and interpersonal skills, as well. Plus, experience has proven that kids who help prepare meals are more willing to try a variety of foods and generally eat a healthier diet.
Natrona County Library debuted their Kitchen a la Cart at the May 17 Tween Cooking Club, where students in grades 4-6 were taught all about the different qualities, health benefits, and taste profiles of eggs. (Science!) They were then guided through basic cooking techniques and knife skills before they chopped vegetables, whisked eggs, and made their own omelets with the ingredients they chose.
The Kitchen a la Cart comes equipped with a working sink, convection oven, cooktop burner, professional grill, pasta maker, blender, hand mixer, and enough kitchen utensils to teach a small class. In the past, the library hosted Tween Cooking Club programs in which kids would make recipes that generally did not include actual cooking, as they did not have a stove or oven. This new portable kitchen has made real cooking not only possible, but fun and safe, as well.
One of NCL’s youth services librarians, Angel Capone Evans, applied for and received a grant that allowed her to travel to Lawrenceville, Georgia, in early May to attend a hands-on Edible Education training for the Kitchen a la Cart along with other educators. By learning about the cart in a group setting, she was given an amazing example of how to lead future classes to groups of all sizes, while also getting a thorough rundown of everything the library’s new cooking cart can safely do.
The library’s Kitchen a la Carte was purchased through grants from The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance Opportunities Fund: Hunger Is program and The Margaret H. and James E. Kelley Foundation by way of the Natrona County Library Foundation.
Natrona County Library looks forward to lots of educational cooking courses in their future, and can’t wait to share everything they’ve learned with both food enthusiasts and cooking newbies alike.