I ran off to eat my way through India for a one month honeymoon in December. I had a talented friend substitute my after-school classes and pushed two sugar-filled (not too sweet) desserts into the few holiday-filled weeks I was away. (Because cooking with kids + sugar = a very sugar-high classroom.)
I was mauled by my students upon my return. One afternoon I had twelve students grabbing by legs, arms — even lying on the floor to touch my feet: “Yooouuuuu’re baaaack!” When we finally walked downstairs I had four students who wanted to hold my hand I had to rotate students at each floor. (They loved the sub, but there is comfort in the familiar. I’m sure if my friend came in for a visit she too would be mauled in a hello.)
Three weeks back now and I am:
Questioned by my kindergarteners: “are you still married?” and other philosophy: “because chefs are supposed to live alone and die lonely.” (Thanks!)
Grounded by my first graders for leaving.
Receiving hugs from my second and third graders.
Whines from my fourth and fifth graders: “When are we going to make Indian food?!”
“I thought you didn’t like Indian food.” (I play with these whines but in truth I hate sweeping proclamations of dislike of an entire cuisine– Surely there are some dishes you can find to enjoy, you just might not know them yet. And by the way, next semester we’ll be dishing out a lot of fun Indian food– I’m psyched!)
This week, I was given a special gift from a first grader. I walked into class to pick the group up and a student ran up to me with outstretched hands: “This is for you!”
“Aw, thanks: Koooooocine Techr. What’s that?”
“That’s you, cooking teacher!”
“Oh, what’s my name?”
“I don’t know, Cooking Teacher?”
“Goooood. What’s that?”
“That’s the soup you’re making.”
“Right, ‘soop.’ What’s that?” (Pointing to ‘Koocine.’)
Student: “That’s kitchen.”
“That’s Spanish for kitchen.”
“The Spanish word for kitchen is cocina.”
“It’s a cup.”
“Huh?” The gift is taken from my hands and inflated.
“It’s an origami cup. You can put your soup in it.”
“Cool. But I think I’ll save it. Soup might make it dirty.”
“It’s okay, I can make another.”
“Do you think soup will be too hot in here.”
“Do you think it will leak?”
“No. You can put pencil soup in it.”
“You can put all your broken pencils inside and make pencil soup.”
And we all went to the koocine to cook our last class of the semester. Sadly, it was not pencil soop.