Culinary class creates a silvery Dutch experience


A Dutch Baby that originated from Germany.

I trudged through the crowded hallways of Gale Ranch Middle School — an area of absolute chaos where students crash into other students, where the echoes of indistinct chatter rings through the air. I held my backpack in one arm, much too exhausted to wear it properly. But even in this state, I felt the twinge of excitement that one would get when waiting for a present. My present on that day was a combination of two things: it was Friday, and it was culinary day.

I entered the upstairs classroom, which had always been hot and stuffy from the constant use of the ovens lined below the many windows. Prior to that day, the class had been a dreadful experience of boredom and packed learning. But the past pain couldn’t stop me from trembling when I saw the ingredients lined on the counter. I would finally be making a dish: the Dutch Baby.

The teacher gave one final, dreary speech before unleashing the gluttonous children from their seats. We hastily stumbled from their seats. We raced over the tile floor approaching our stations. That day I had been named head chef for the day. Adding to my excitement, my good friend was my assistant chef.

I snatched the recipe which had been carefully placed on the marble countertop and quickly analyzed it. Startling my teammates, I suddenly called out for the ingredients and measuring utensils. My heart raced. I had steeled myself beforehand, but the pressure I felt as the head chef pulled a slight trembling from me.

Regardless, I followed the recipe and the dish proceeded seamlessly. When the mixing of the batter had finished, my team cautiously placed it into the blistering oven. Then, we waited. I stood staring through the oven screen with only the dull oven light to reveal our creation. Minutes went by in what felt to be years. Slowly, but surely, the batter began to rise. My anticipation had kept me from noticing how the humid, and now hot, room had created sweat beads on my forehead.

The oven timer rang in a shrill and disruptive tone, before we shut it off. I finally pulled out our masterpiece and sprinkled the cinnamon sugar which had been provided to us. The warmth of the dish carried the euphoric smell of sweetness around the classroom. Of course, my team had taken its share but still left me with a sizable piece of the meal.

I took the long-awaited nibble. The Dutch Baby, similar to bread, flaked off into my mouth with the strong taste of sugar and cinnamon. The topping stuck to nearly every area of my mouth with the main dish acting as a perfect complement. The heat of the dish nearly forced me to spit it out but I endured.

I stopped my voracious self from eating the rest, wanting to save some for my mother and sister. That day, I waited left my school eager for the coming school year. The class had taught me my first dish — something I could make on my own for my friends and family.