Friday, February 08, 2019

Of Light and Shadow on a Friday Morning

Children and children-at-heart are impatiently watching the skies this dark morning. We are waiting for snow. A few lazy flakes drift to the ground as I write. Not enough for a snow-day from school! Ah well, perhaps we'll be able to play in the snow this weekend. I'm hoping so.

Last Saturday we went for lunch with some friends. Our view included a boat-builders' dock and the old boat above. It doesn't look like the best advertisement for the business, but certainly has plenty of character. The day was gloomy with clouds and that's certainly reflected in the photo. 

On another day this week, I drove out to Island View Beach for a walk. The late afternoon light was so clear with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. (That's cold for us.) Mount Baker, in Washington State, glowed white and blue.

The light transformed rose hips into almost translucent orbs of colour. Soon they will all fall and be replaced by fresh wild blossoms. 

Storms and waves toss up huge piles of driftwood along the shorelines. Beach visitors are almost compelled to create something from them - shelters, sculptures, artful arrangements. I don't know if the placement of arching branch was an affair of nature, or deliberate.

Oh, the light, beautiful as it fades.

On another day, light streamed in the window to dance on the frame photo of Hailes Abbey, taken almost 3 years ago now. 

A number of readers posed a question about what I teach in Grade 8 Foods. We run a program called RAFT - Robotics, Art, Food, Tech Ed (aka Woodworking) - for our 13-year-old students. This semester, February through June, is divided into 4 blocks with the students rotating through each of the four options. There are 3 groups of students, so I will have one block free. Our goal is to give students the opportunity to explore a variety of applied arts. It's just a taste - I think I have them for 25 class days. 

My goal is to help them see how they can learn skills that will enable them to eat well and to be mindful of what they eat. We begin with breakfast - Pancakes with Berry Sauce, followed by Banana Muffins. So they've learned how to mix two types of doughs, and thicken a sauce with cornstarch, cook on the stove top and use the oven. 

Next is lunch, and yesterday they prepared the pizza dough (yeast) and tomato sauce. Today they will roll out the crust, add the sauce, grate the cheese and bake it. Alongside, we're serving carrot sticks and cucumber slices, so those will be prepared while the pizza bakes. 

It's a busy, busy class - there are 24 students in 6 kitchens. Students come with a very wide range of experience. Some never cook at home; others prepare entire meals. We intersperse the cooking days with discussions and lessons about theory and nutrition. 

I demonstrated how to make the pizza dough on Wednesday and stressed a number of times to NOT squish the dough but to use a push and fold and pull method. Some students don't listen well. I was called to two kitchens where the "kneader's" hands were coated with sticky dough because they had picked it up and squished it through their fingers. What a mess! We scraped the dough off and I showed them, once again, how to knead. 

Of course, the best part of the course is eating the food they've prepared, and I don't think anyone has ever produced something utterly inedible. Cooking is very forgiving. 

Linking to Friday Bliss, hosted by Riitta of Floral Passions. 

Happy weekend!  


  1. You live in such a beautiful place surrounding by all of that water. Your class reminds me of "home economics that we were required to take in 8th grade. We learned to cook and sew. You could continue to take it through high school if you wanted, but I didn't since I already knew how to cook and sew, learning from my mom.

  2. Cookery, or as it was later called, 'domestic economy', is a lost art in our schools. It's very sad as it is an essential part of learning how to cope in life. I only ever did Latin and French and wasnt put in the cookery class, consequently came out of school not knowing how to boil a potato!

  3. Our course was 'Domestic Science' in my English all girl Grammar School (High School here).
    I recall the cooking classes well, also the sewing - but of course with a wonderful mum who excelled in both subjects over her working career (Royal Dressmaker and professional cook!) I think learnt more at home helping out in the kitchen and treadling the old Singer sewing machine!

    Love the story of what you do at school for the Foods class Lorrie, thanks for sharing.
    Those photos are beautiful and take me right back to your always scenic island.
    Happy weekend to you too - even if it snows! Much too warm here for Feb., high 70's past few days, but much colder over the weekend. . . . . . . makes me happy!

  4. I remember my home economics classes in junior high school. I was always excited to eat what we made. Love the arch photo and the boat reflection. Hope you have a peaceful weekend.

  5. What a great way to teach kids to eat healthy and have fun preparing dishes! Your pizza made me remember the little pizzas my boys loved to make. They made them with English muffins. Toast one side just a little and then add all the yummy toppings. Quick and easy. I love your boat photo...would be beautiful printed and framed! Enjoy your weekend!

    1. I should have said....and then cook with the toppings and cheese on top.

  6. Thirteen-year-olds...I should start asking lots of questions. ☺ I think it must be both fun and educational for them to rotate through the various classes. I was pleased to discover that my thirteen-year-old grand knows how to pop corn, but I am sure that it would be a stretch for him to bake muffins or make pizza from scratch.

    Your photographer's eye always impresses me...the perspectives and subjects are intriguing.

  7. Those rose hips... love them!

  8. Gorgeous photos!
    Cooking classes are the best!

  9. Mmmmmmmmm muffins. All of your photos look warm to me! hard to believe there may be snow

  10. That old boat makes my imagination to fly... I could send you some of my excess snow, so that the children would be happy! I think the Finnish kids are in heaven now - they have so much to do outside. So great that even boys learn to cook, because the modern emancipated woman to be is not ready to serve her man in excess :)

  11. Wonderful photos, I loved the boat and the reflection. The course sounds wonderful and should be available in every school. So many young people leave school to go to University and have no idea how to cook for themselves.

  12. Dear Lorrie,
    It has become obvious that you live a very special life, with beautiful surroundings and wonderful family and friends.
    So many young people don't know how to cook. Their mothers don't know how to cook. That is very sad. I'm glad that you have chosen to help.

  13. Beautiful photos! I am especially taken with the rose hips!

    Interesting to hear about your Foods class. Basic cooking is a needed skill. It must be rewarding to be able to help someone(s) learn these skills!

  14. Your students are so lucky to have your for their teacher, Lorrie. i'm sure they will love tasting their own homemade pizza. I taught Home Economics long, long ago, but now try to teach my grands.

  15. Lorrie - you always manage to find the light in your photos. And now I know that it is your light from within - I admire teachers in general, but especially those dealing with the classic "home economics/shop" classes. I am sure (as related with the dough story) that it is often like herding cats. You have my undying admiration!

  16. I just love your photography so much!
    Karen B.

  17. Well I do hope that your wanted snow has arrived for you all by now - we had a couple of days of pristine snow last week. It was still looking good on the second evening, but by the next morning every drop had vanished. That is the way I like it. Come quickly but depart equally as quickly.
    Your first photo is absolutely lovely and worthy of a frame to hang on your wall.

  18. Hopefully your snow has arrived. It certainly looks as if your corner is getting a good dusting. I can well see why you enjoy your job. So satisfying empowering young people to cook using basic ingredients rather than rely on ready meals. Wishing you a good new week. Stay safe in the snow. B x

  19. I wish that we had the RAFT course when I was in 8th grade!

  20. You had me with 'Pancakes with berry sauce.' Your students are quite fortunate.

  21. I absolutely LOVE that your are teaching young kids to cook. It is a skill they will use all of the days of their lives. Have a love filled week!

  22. Our area had a rare school closure due to snow and cold. We usually handle snow well, but it was a below zero wind chill that closed the schools for safety of the children.

    I like that course of introductory study for 13 year olds! I'm sure many might find they have a passion for something new. We have a nephew whom is a professional chef and went to a Culinary Arts school instead of regular college. It can be a wonderful career! Your classes sound fun and educational. I'm impressed your school has 6 kitchens!.

  23. Stunningly beautiful photographs.

    All the best Jan


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