Last week, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum kicked off its first Kids Culinary Camp for the summer! The first week was centered around all things Italian! From Venice to Sicily, the campers were able to cook food inspired by different Italian cities.
On Monday, the campers were split into three teams, and the day started off with each of the groups creating a team name and banner. Three teams emerged and the Venice Vipers, Roman Noodles and the Slice of Sicily were ready to start off the week on an artistic foot. Before getting cooking, each camper learned the rules and expectations for the week. Next, the adventurous campers put their taste buds to the test and tried three cheeses: gorgonzola, provolone and parmigiano-reggiano. If they did not like a particular cheese, they were encouraged to explain why and say “it was not my favorite!” Next, all campers focused on preparing the day’s main course: mushroom risotto with a side of delicious tiramisu. The Venice Vipers stayed inside to serve everyone, delicately garnishing the risotto with parsley. The campers who were outside got a chance to play a few rounds of Refrigerator Tag. At the end of the camp, all teams gathered back in the kitchen area to enjoy their meal and share their favorite parts of the day.
On Tuesday, the campers made their way down from Venice into the region of Emilia-Romagna to the city of Bologna. The campers designed their own greeting cards to start off the morning. They got to learn new Italian phrases like “Buona Festa del Papa” for Father’s Day and “Felice Compleanno” to express Happy Birthday. All their cards were decorated with colorful, dried pastas. Next, the campers learned about the history of pasta in Italy and the different varieties of pastas, playing a game of Pasta Bingo! Continuing with the theme of pasta, the campers made homemade spaghetti with a fresh Bolognese sauce. Groups of campers took turns making their own pasta dough, rolling the dough into noodles, and chopping and sauteing vegetables for the sauce. While the sauce was simmering on down, the Roman Noodles stayed inside with help from a few Slice of Sicilians to plate and serve the delicious food.
On Wednesday, the trek through Italy continued down to Rome in Central Italy. But first, the campers traveled back in time to the age of the Roman Empire! Without sugar or baking soda, the Romans relied on honey to sweeten cakes and the air that was whisked into eggs to rise them. The campers tried their hand at making this ancient dessert, decorating the tops of the honey cakes with almonds. Afterwards, the campers were put to the test with a riveting game of a Central Italian Jeopardy. The categories ranged from trivia about vegetables used in Italian foods to landmarks found around Rome. In the end, the Roman Noodles took home the prize, showing us their team pride. Lunch today consisted of fettuccine, made from yesterday’s pasta dough, and alfredo sauce with broccoli and chicken. While the Roman Noodles plated up their magnificent meals, the campers enjoyed a round of Alligator Tail outdoors. The campers returned to their tables at the end of the camp to savor their culinary masterpieces. The food was so good, some campers even ate all their broccoli!
On Thursday, the culinary campers hurled towards Naples, the home of the modern pizza that we all know and love! The campers started the day off by learning about an old Italian tradition: the Feast of the Seven Fishes. This grand occasion originated from Southern Italy and has become nestled within the heart of Italian-American culture as well. The campers, taking inspiration from Italian cookbooks, designed their own seven-course spread for a seafood feast. Afterwards, campers learned about the history of pizza-making in Naples. They played a few rounds of Heads Up, learning about each other’s favorite pizza toppings. During the preparation of the meal, the campers made and rolled out their own dough. A variety of toppings, such as onions, bell peppers, salami, and pepperoni, were set out for the campers to adorn their pizzas with. Many campers dared to include vegetables on their pizza, and they all loved it!
Friday marked the last day of our Italian-themed Camp! The campers rounded out their trip in Southern Italy, reaching the island of Sicily. To complete the week, each camper got a cookbook, containing recipes for all the meals that they made. A few campers made modifications to their cookbooks, noting things that they would change about the foods that they made. After happily signing each other’s yearbooks, campers gathered into pairs of two to compete in Snack Wars. The campers, to celebrate the seafood-based cuisine of Sicily, created their own sea creature with snacks. Using foods like bananas, oranges, and pretzels, campers got very creative, constructing eels and jellyfish. The campers then prepared meatballs and tomato sauce as the last meal of this week’s camp. As the Slice of Sicily team plated, the Snow-Ball machine was brought out for a sweet, cold treat. The campers gladly ate up their mighty meatballs and delicious snowballs to close out our first camp here at the Kid’s Camp!