Milford middle school students learn French cooking – Milford Daily News


This is the first full year of the Stacy Middle School French Club, teacher Holly Davoren said. Students submit ideas for activities that members can do each month, and Davoren and fellow French teacher Brian Shuman try to make them a reality.

MILFORD – Thirteen-year-old Madison Pugh held the crust of her quiche over a stainless steel table Wednesday afternoon, surveying the selection of vegetables and cheese with which she could fill it.

“I think it’s cool, because it’s more of a hands-on experience than you get in class,” she said. “You get to experience the culture.”

Pugh was in the high school cafeteria with several of her fellow middle school French Club classmates. The group was learning how to make five basic French dishes – quiche, crepes, poutine, ratatouille and cheese gougères.

“I submitted the idea,” said Paulo Pereira, 13, of a French cooking class. “I really like it. I didn’t think we were going to be able to (do it).”

This is the first full year of the Stacy Middle School French Club, teacher Holly Davoren said. Students submit ideas for activities that members can do each month, and Davoren and fellow French teacher Brian Shuman try to make them a reality.

“It lets you explore,” said Charleen Noel, 13, of the club. “It’s fun, and it’s social.  It’s different from other clubs.”

There are about 40 students in the club, and activities span from something as simple as watching a movie in French in the school auditorium to a planned four-day February vacation trip to Quebec City for Winter Carnaval.

“Winter Carnaval is a big-time tradition up there,” Davoren said.

Students will also raise money for a good cause, and find a way to relate it to French culture. Last year, when the club was only able to meet for about half the year, members raised money for Tree of Hope, which helps those in need in Haiti.

French is one of the dominant languages in Haiti. The group hasn’t yet settled on a cause this year.

“I think it gives me new opportunities to learn about new things,” said Evelyn Chuqui, 14, about participating in club activities.

The idea of French cooking had a lot of support from students, Davoren said, and the district’s director of food and nutrition services, Carla Tuttle, was on board. Tuttle hunted down the recipes, looking for options that were practical – meaning relatively low in cost, and easy enough for beginners to tackle.

“French cooking … can be difficult,” she said, laughing.

Across the kitchen Wednesday, a handful of students clustered around high school cafeteria cashier Fran Plichta, as she showed them how to achieve the delicate thinness that characterizes crepes.

“See how it’s starting to curl a little bit?” she asked students, lifting an edge from the sizzling pan.

Elsewhere in the kitchen, students grinned and chatted as they sampled completed crepes, or helped clean up and prepare a table for the next recipe – ratatouille.

“I think it will be a tradition,” Davoren, of the cooking class.

Alison Bosma can be reached at 508-634-7582 or abosma@wickedlocal.com. Find her on Twitter at @AlisonBosma.

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