One of the classes I regularly teach at SEV is Cooking where we make chocolate chip cupcakes -- they definitely don't taste as delicious as they sound, but mediocre cupcakes are still better than no cupcakes. It's not a bad way to spend the afternoon.
What amazed me from the beginning is that almost none of the kids have ever baked before. Measuring cups and measuring spoons are foreign objects, and the spatula becomes a fantastic weapon. An accidental dusting of flour on a student's hand is treated like a 3rd degree burn: "Teacher! Teacher!" followed by vigorous hand-shaking and a good soak in the sink.
It's just flour.
Part of the problem is that although 65 percent of Korean homes have kimchi refrigerators, most don't have ovens. So while there are plenty of traditional Korean pastries, many are either bought at the store or don't require an oven, which means kids miss out on this vital part of growing up.
I loved helping my mom bake when I was a kid -- actually, I still love it now. I'm not sure that "helping" is the right word because mostly I just licked batter from the bowl and spatula, but it is a vivid memory from childhood.
My favorites were always Christmas sugar cookies. Mixing the ingredients and rolling the dough flat to cut shapes took hours but never got boring. Eventually, the cookie cutters were pushed aside and we carved our own designs in the dough, usually our initials.
When I lived at home, my mom baked me a birthday cake every year and it was always more delicious than any storebought cake.
Request to Mom: Will you bake a cake when I move back to the US in October? Just planning ahead here... Dad, you can make one too if you want, but I don't think I've ever seen you bake anything besides lasagne.
Cooking is by far one of the most popular classes at school, and for good reason. Who wouldn't love a class where you get to make a mess, be active and eat chocolate at the end?! It's just too bad students can't take their new-found baking skills home.