Posted Date: 01/05/2021
Once again, students in middle school careers class and Family and Consumer Science (FACS) worked together on a food and marketing project, while adapting to COVID protocols and the absence of public input about the taste and quality of their foods.
“We pared down the cooking but added a couple of other skills we wanted the students to practice,” Royster careers teacher Dallas Masoner said, such as food photography and packaging for their products using a 3-D printer.
“They had to create a business plan this year,” FACS teacher Sheila Foster said, with each group adapting a cookie recipe from the 1940s and creating a new product that they would make, taste test, revise and market.
“I could only have eight people in the kitchen at one time, Foster said, due to social distancing guidelines, so the students were divided into groups of six, with one pair working on the business plan and recipe development, another on food photography, styling and food writing, and the last pair on food package design, packaging and the nutrition label.
Emelie Jones and Kaylee Mitchell chose a 1945 molasses cookie recipe and revised it to a pumpkin molasses cookie.
“We added cream cheese frosting with pumpkin pie spice sugar which added a crunch to the top of the cookie,” Jones said.
“It tasted more like pumpkin pie. We liked it,” Mitchell added.
During the taste test -teachers rated the cookies - somebody absolutely hated it, while others said it needed more icing, Jones said.
Jaydin Clounch and Lilli Hollingshead found a chocolate chip walnut cookie they wanted to update.
“Instead of walnuts we did pecans,” Clounch said.
“Instead of vanilla we added mint,” added Hollingshead, but they’d change it if they made it again.
“The mint was a little too strong,” Clounch said.
“The biggest surprise was the white chocolate strawberry cookie,” Foster said. “They just changed the flavoring and type of chip,” and then cut out their dough with fancy cookie cutters.
Both Emily Cunningham and Cha’Kyra Walls admitted to liking chocolate chips and found a chocolate chip recipe to convert.
“We took the regular chocolate chips and vanilla out,” Cunningham said.
“Instead of making it like a chocolate chip taste, we used strawberry extract and white chocolate chips,” Walls explained. “They were good.”
“Real good,” Cunningham added.
FCCLA chose a Food Innovation Theme this year since it’s their 75th anniversary, so that’s why the students were revising recipes from the 1940s when the service organization first began.
There were some fun moments when students came across words or terms foreign to them.
“We had a group reading the recipe and asked what a nutmeat was … they’d never heard of it or trying to use the meat or nut out of the shell. ‘You mean they had to crack the nuts before they used them?” Foster was asked. They’ve only seen nuts chopped and ready to use in the grocery store.
Another recipe didn’t have a bake time, so one of Foster’s advanced bakers had to test for doneness several times, until she could determine the correct cooking time.
One area the students really enjoyed was learning how to adapt food for photography to advertise their product.
“They actually thought it was pretty cool,” creating faux ice cream and styling it, and working with a bowl of cereal so it wouldn’t look soggy, she said.
“They used Elmer’s glue for the icing, and another group used powdered sugar to simulate snow falling,” Masoner added.
The students also created blogs to talk about their products.