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Answered Prayers: Kids and the Joys of Cooking

A retiree shares her faith and gets her prayer answered by introducing children to the ways of the kitchen.

By Margaret Panico, Lake Luzerne, New York

As appeared in

My husband and I retired from the busy suburbs of Long Island, New York, to the village of Lake Luzerne, 200 miles upstate. We found a church we liked in St. Mary’s Episcopal, but I felt at loose ends. I prayed about it. Back home I’d taught cooking classes for children. Would there be enough interest here?

I asked the rector, Father Bruce Mason, if I could use the church kitchen. “Sure, let’s give it a try,” he said.

Nearly 40 kids signed up, enough for two weekly sessions. First we made monkey bread, cinnamon roll-like bites held together with butter and brown sugar. The kids loved pulling apart the warm bread and popping the sweet sticky pieces into their mouths.

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Next up sugar cookies, where they learned to roll out dough. Then mac and cheese from scratch.

By week six they were ready for Swedish meatballs, a recipe with 14 ingredients. The kids carefully followed each step, taking turns cracking the eggs and measuring out spices. Their favorite part was rolling the mixture into balls.

Every session while their dishes cooked, Father Bruce’s wife, Shay, led a Bible study. She taught the kids about foods in the scriptures: honey, pomegranates, olives, grapes, salt and figs. She ended with a prayer. At first the children just listened, but soon they were asking for prayers for family and friends, even saying their own prayers.

At the end of the eight weeks the kids hosted an Italian dinner for the village. More than 130 people attended, feasting on spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and sugar cookies for dessert.

I told Father Bruce what a blessing the class had been.

“For weeks I’d been praying for a way to serve the children here,” he said. “But nothing seemed quite right until you came along. I think God knew just the ingredient we were missing.”

Try Magaret's delicious recipe for Swedish Meatballs.

 

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