Eagle County third-graders learn life lessons by baking | VailDaily.com

Eagle County third-graders learn life lessons by baking

CVR 3rd Grade Bakers DT 10-25-11

AVON, Colorado – Two kinds of people work in kitchens: cooks and bakers.

Cooks believe recipes are guidelines and tend to regard them as suggestions.

Bakers are scientists. Baking is a chemical process with cookies and cakes and pies as the outcome.

A pack of pint-sized pastry chefs packed kitchens around the valley Tuesday, learning about baking.

Homestake Peak School’s entire third grade cleared out of the classroom and took a field trip to the kitchens at the Sebastian, Sonnenalp, Ritz Carlton-Bachelor Gulch, Avondale and the Avon Bakery.

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They used a little math, added some chemistry and mixed in some manual labor and, before you know it, they were eating apple pie and sipping an Izze.

When they were done, they were eating their very own ciabatta bread, apple pie and chocolate cookies. They even had some to share.

Now, that’s a good day at school.

Baking, they learned, is a hands-on experience, like so much of Homestake Peak’s expeditionary learning.

Mark Strickland with the Avon Bakery started his crew making ciabatta bread, the Italian bread they use in their meatball sandwich, which is so good it’ll make you willing to commit misdemeanors to get one, or to keep other people away from yours.

You acquire a bunch of life lessons when you’re up to your elbows in the learning process, such as:

• Most messes will wash right off.

• Almost no messes are permanent.

• You really can make your own pie crust, but math matters. It’s three parts flour, two parts butter, one part water, and some other stuff Strickland does that just doesn’t need to be part of the curriculum – but thank you for asking. It’s a big deal for a kid to make a pie crust and fill it with apple stuff. And how long has it been since you made a pie crust?

• Food tastes better if you prepare it with some gusto, which explains the kids playing in the flour, getting it up to their elbows and some in their hair. Flour makes a striking hair highlighter. The darker the hair the better it works.

• Shirts are for getting dirty and wiping your hands on.

• Other people’s shirts work just as well.

• Even the very young have a memories. Alaena Knapp scattered flour on the countertop to keep the dough from sticking. “I did that when I was making cookies for Santa when I was 2 years old,” Alaena said to her teacher, Jasmine Dearth.

• Not everything is as it seems. When the bread dough smell started wafting through the room, one lad observed, “It smells like Bud Light!” Actually, it’s more like Sam Adams.

• Some things are as they seem. “It looks like a ball of dough!” said one boy as they pulled a ball of chocolate chip cookie dough out of the mixing bowl.

And everything is a matter of the proper motivation.

When he pulled the commercial refrigerator door open, the kids spotted the top shelf stacked with Izze sodas.

It doesn’t take long for kids to make their heart’s desires known.

“When we’re done, everyone gets Izzes,” Strickland said.

He was the most popular guy in the room.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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