By DAVID GREEN
As far as anyone in the Merillat family can remember, it was Great-great-grandma Sakauski who came up with the family recipe for Farm Noodles.
She passed the recipe on to Great-grandma Merillat who gave it to Aunt Mary who in turn gave it to Molly, Michaela Merillat’s mother.
For Michaela, it was an easy decision to choose Farm Noodles for Mr. Rupp’s sixth grade Kid Chef Cookbook.
“I chose this recipe because I absolutely adore them,” she wrote in her cookbook introduction. “When my mom makes them, I’m the first one to get a bowl full.”
“I hope soon I will be able to make them as well as my mom,” she wrote. “I guarantee that if you make them, you will love them as much as I do.”
She isn’t alone in heartily recommending her family recipe. The testimonials are numerous.
“I think this recipe is the best in the world,” says Desmond Alcock about Spiced Pecans/Almonds.
“My Dirt Cups are the best,” says Aisha Mossing, “so try them, and that will be your favorite dessert.”
“I want you to try this because you will like it,” writes Aaron Van Pelt. “You will say that you want some more.”
“I’m telling you, you will love this salad,” says Billy White.
Mr. Rupp’s assignment called for his English students to choose a recipe and talk to family members about its history. Tell where the recipe came from and why you chose it.
For some students, the reason is simple: It’s wonderful food. “Stuffed shells make me happy and I hope they make you feel happy, too,” wrote Mary Margaret Hollstein.
Others have more personal reasons.
“This is my grandma’s recipe,” wrote Chelsea Bischoff about her Pumpkin Pie. “It makes me remember my grandma. She is no longer around so it’s special to me.”
“My great-grandma Wolf always made Apple Salad,” wrote Hayze Wolf. “This recipe reminds me of my great-grandma Wolf when we went to all the family gatherings.”
The next part of the assignment called for students to take the recipe card version and turn it into correct writing style—thorough, but easy to follow.
“The biggest struggle for a few of them was reading their mom’s or grandma’s writing on the original recipe card,” Mr. Rupp said.
An excerpt from Levi Miller’s Chuck Wagon Beans recipe instructs the cook this way:
“In a medium baking dish, combine all of the above ingredients along with one can of drained kidney beans, one can drained lima beans, one can of Campbell's Pork and Beans and one can of B&M Baked Beans.”
Levi’s bean recipe has the history—“my great-great-grandmother Rock first created her famous Chuck Wagon Beans in the 1920s”—but he’s not drooling with hunger in his introduction. Instead, he gives this honest assessment.
“I’ve never tried them, but they sound great.”
Greg Knoblauch thinks his Chip Beef Over Rice recipe needs some good marketing.
“Try my recipe. It may not sound too good. The first time I tried it, it didn’t look very good, but it tastes great.”
The final part of the assignment was the oral presentation, where students were invited to do anything to help spice up the show. That often included sharing samples. Perhaps the way to a teacher’s grade book is through the stomach. Mr. Rupp claims this assignment is becoming one of his favorites.
“A lot of kids bring in samples and I get to eat,” he said.
Of course this means chicken wings, ice cream and noodles at 8 o’clock in the morning, but he’ll take what he can get.
There’s a bonus from this year’s cookbook project. Sales of the book brought in $250 which the class donated Monday morning to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi.
Principal Kay Johnson and staff member Jim Petry were called to the classroom for a presentation. Those two, along with teacher Renae Schaffner, will make a fourth trip to the south over the holiday break to assist with the on-going rebuilding efforts. The classroom gift will help pay for gas or can be used in any way the volunteers see fit.
And before heading into the kitchen, take this one final piece of advice from Aisha Mossing’s recipe: “Hang a candy worm off the rim of the cup.”– Dec. 20, 2006