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My CTE Experience Has Helped Me Get Started!

By Kalinda Dobson
Student, Wasatch JHS 

Don’t you love walking into your home and smelling a fresh loaf of bread baking? Have you ever listened to the crackle of a creme puff as you take your first bite? These are examples of why I love baking. Before my CTE classes, baking and cooking were merely means to an end – eating something that tastes good. I didn’t see how mixing together some eggs and flour to make a cake could be anything special (not that I had ever made any cake from scratch).

After taking the required Foods class in 7th grade, I decided to take the next level in cooking classes offered at my school, which was actually part cooking, part sewing (FACS). This class prompted me to start exploring with food “outside of the box” – literally!  I started by making pasta sauce, expanding on the basic white sauce we learned how to make in class. I kept on experimenting in order to put an entire meal on the table, and before I knew it I had used up all of our yeast baking loaves of bread!

In 9th grade, I again enrolled in a Foods class. This course really opened my eyes to the both the art and skill involved in baking and cooking. At this point in my culinary life, I had advanced to baking cakes with butter-cream frosting – from scratch – for the girls on my cheerleading squad. I had learned how to pipe and decorate cakes, including how to sculpt the delicate chocolate roses you might see on a cake from a bakery. I was feeling fairly accomplished, but I was then introduced to a form of baking beyond bread and cake. Pastries had always seemed a little advanced to me. I thought only experienced French chefs could master this kind of baking, until we made creme puffs in Foods class. I was a little nervous at first, but found it to be surprisingly easy! Once I got home, I tried it for myself and enjoyed the same success and an increasing confidence in my abilities.

I am planning on continuing to enroll in cooking classes in high school and hopefully getting into culinary school. If it weren’t for the Foods and Nutrition classes at my school, I would not have discovered my love of baking.  Just by trying something new and taking a risk with a different class, I discovered something that has changed my life for the better.

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