Cooking Camp takes cooking to the grill

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Vidorian staff photo

The Annual 4-H Summer Youth Cooking Camp takes cooking outside to the grill this year. Under close adult supervision, sixty area kids and teens got a chance to grill up chicken and vegetable kabobs and grilled chocolate banana marshmallow foil packs on a real charcoal grill outside of the Expo Center. The cooking odors of the marinated chicken and veggies was heavenly.

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Nine-year-old Mackenzie Howard (left) of Bridge City cooks zucchini and noodles in a chicken broth as eleven-year-old Alissa Tripp (right) of Orange chops up veggies to add to the mixture at the 2019 4-H Summer Youth Cooking Camp. The taller camper in the center named Gwyn, is watching Alissa carefully as she handles the plastic knife.

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Photo/Randall Luker

It’ s not all fun at the 4-H Summer Youth Cooking Camp. Every child camper must wash dishes and utensils as well as working to keep their food preparation areas clean and sanitary. Nine-year-old Brady Landry of Mauriceville (far center) washes a food preparation bowl as nine-year-old Ava Montondon (to Brady’s right) prepares to rinse the bowl. Nine-year-old Karma Fenner (nearest with both hands in basin) of Orange sanitizes previously washed and rinsed dishes.

The 4-H Youth Summer Cooking Camp sponsored in Orange County by our local Orange County AgriLife Extension Service is going on this week at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center. Everyday this week, sixty cooking campers, ages 8 - 14, show up, don aprons and wash their hands to get ready for a handson food preparation, cooking and eating experience. And, yes, to have some fun while learning valuable life lessons.

While the kids learned to chop vegetables, prepare and season beef, tuna and chicken, and cook in real skillets and pots, they also got a real treat this year; outdoor grilling!

“We’ve never tried outdoor grilling before,” said County Extension Agent and 4-H Coordinator Fallon Foster. “So this is something that is really fun and exciting for the kids. It gives our campers a chance to become familiar with outdoor grilling. They don’t have to be afraid of their parents’ grill anymore. They had this experience now and they’re not going to forget it, especially after they taste their grilled creations.”

Ms. Foster said that the outdoor grilling section of the camp took a lot of planning and required extra adult supervision volunteers.

“When we did our dress rehearsal, we tried to anticipate all of the variables involved with grilling over hot charcoal and young hands going near the hot coals. And we quickly realized that we needed to work in smaller groups of kids and have more adult volunteers supervising the kids near the grills,” said Ms. Foster. “But so far today, we’ve been very successful at giving the kids their grilling experience without any child being exposed to any danger.”


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