Sequoia Middle School students bake up tasty treats at lunch in the Bread Club
At Sequoia Middle School a “Bread Club” home economics class makes bread, pasta, and specialties like Chinese egg rolls and other delicacies during lunch time, and 25-30 students have a wonderful learning experience every day that they enjoy.
Larry Haas, who teaches the class, said it came about eight years ago when he and his class were reading a Jack London book in his Language Arts class, where a character was making no-yeast bread.
Haas said to himself, “I can do that,” and his students were intrigued. He told them to meet him at the Home Economics kitchen and “the bread was cast,” so they say.
On Thursday, March 7, the mostly eighth grade class with a few seventh graders sprinkled in shaped and baked fresh sourdough they made Wednesday, and had wonderful hot fresh bread with their lunch.
Besides bread, students made fettuccine pasta by hand during the hour-long class. After making the pasta and putting it through the machine to make the noodles, they cooked it and served it with garlic, cilantro and a bit of red pepper to make it spicy. With fresh bread, what a meal!
“I don’t care if you’re 4 or 24, you’ve got to see the noodles going through the pasta machine,” said Haas on the pasta making process.
While half of the students were busy making the bread and getting it in the oven, the other students began making the pasta, cutting butter, mixing flour, pouring extra virgin olive oil, and heating up the spices for the simple butter and garlic sauce with parmesan cheese on top.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to see how food is made,” said 13-year-old Kambria Rohrbach. “I also think it’s a good experience for kids to learn how to cook, as well as taking responsibility to clean the dishes.”
The students also make cookies, and they said they like to make food from different cultures and use different techniques. They also like getting recipes from the different generations said Viviana Lemus, but she said, “All the recipes we’ve done are challenging, like making the Chinese eggs rolls, and patience is the key. But the main ingredient to the class is fun.”
Nicholas Huynh, also in eighth grade, said, “I’m really enjoying my time here at the Bread Club, and it’s run by all the people here, like a democracy. And the food is top notch.”
Daisy Beckett and her friend Rohrbach said, “We like that the kitchen is a clean environment. And no food is wasted. We are also trying to make different stuff, like adding diverse things. Like different desserts and extraordinary entrees. Banana muffins and no-carb pizzas made with almond flour. So people who can’t have many carbs or no gluten can enjoy it. The no carb pizza was actually very good.”
Haas inherited the bread “starter” from Carol Lapham, who owned the Shingle Mill restaurant in Springville, and it’s about 40 years old.
His cooking class, which he teaches after the bread club, is having a crepe making competition, and he says the students know their way around the kitchen, and know how to do it all. They are really motivated.
The elective class has really caught on, he says, especially since the hospitality pathway program started at Monache High School.