Recipe for (almost) disaster

Time: 90 minutes.


  • 18 middle school students
  • 7 gas ranges
  • 7 frying pans
  • 3 or 4 sharp knives
  • Sandwich stuff (bread, ham, cheese, tomato, lettuce, butter, mustard, honey, mayonnaise, strawberry jam, eggs)


  • Preset your students to hungry
  • Combine ingredients
  • Watch carefully, checking frequently to ensure that nothing is on fire, bleeding, or otherwise harmed


  • 1 smoky room
  • 3 open windows
  • 18 happy students
  • 23ish sandwiches


Actually, this was my first attempt at having a “cooking” day during camp, and I was impressed with their skills. Many of them expertly fried their eggs and ham, and even toasted the bread in the frying pan. I was offered several samples of the fruits of their labor and they were definitely successful.

Cleanup was not quite so successful… but watching them gave me flashbacks to when my siblings and I had to “clean the kitchen” after dinner, leaving many a greasy spot and crumb for our parents to re-clean. It’s a blind spot that we can’t really see until adulthood.

As my co-teacher and I re-wiped the tables, she shrugged, “That’s why they are children.”


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