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EXCHANGE: Kids create good food for good cause

October 4, 2018

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) — Aiden Anderson, 10, loves to cook all kinds of meat. The Brooks Elementary School fifth-grader said that he hopes to inspire others to do the same through his tasty dishes. And judging by the positive response his French onion turkey received at the fifth annual “Kids Can Cook!” event at Sycamore United Methodist Church, he succeeded.

“I’ve been cooking a long time, and I like that I can share my food with other people,” said Aiden, who made Italian sausage at last year’s event. “I love this event because I can try other people’s food, and it’s very nice meeting new people.”

More than 100 people filled the church’s gym Sept. 15, to taste the mouth-watering desserts, entrees and appetizers made by 16 local children, ranging in age from kindergarten through high school. “Kids Can Cook!” is sponsored by the Family Service Agency, and all of the money raised from the event supports the Youth Mentoring Program, formerly known as Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeKalb County.

Erin Tamms, community programs director at Family Service Agency, said that she always looks forward to the event because the children get so excited about showing off their dishes.

“These kids have wonderful talent. All of the food they prepare is unbelievably good,” she said. “They’re so proud of what they make, and they have a blast. They start coming up with their ideas weeks before and are so creative with the concepts they come up with.”

As did Aiden, Lindsey Nichols, 11, hoped that her homemade fire-roasted Mexican salsa would encourage others to make their own healthy meals.

The Huntley Middle School sixth-grader said that almost every ingredient used in her salsa came from her family’s farm.

“I wanted to make this salsa to inspire people to do it themselves because it’s pretty easy,” she said. “Mexican food is my favorite, and I also make tacos and guacamole. I like mixing things together and just seeing what happens and trying new things.”

For the second year in a row, Sycamore Middle School seventh-grader Peyten Ruby made a dessert from a family recipe. Last year, she brought apple squares, while this year, she made molasses cookies that came from her great-great-grandmother.

“I thought that was the perfect recipe for tonight,” Peyten said about her cookies. “I love to bake because you can be more creative and decorate things differently. It took a few days to make all these cookies, but they turned out well.”

DeKalb resident Noah Murcia, 9, has participated in “Kids Can Cook!” for three years, and this time, he made one of his favorite dinner recipes, pizza waffle bites. The St. Mary’s Sycamore fourth-grader said that he always looks forward to this event.

“I like to cook, and it’s a fun activity,” he said. “This is a great, fast dinner and it only takes 10 minutes to make.”

Noah’s mother, Ashley Murcia, said that she is always proud that he has a continued interest in participating in the event because it supports the Family Service Agency.

“We always talk about how this helps kids in our community,” she said. “I’ve volunteered with the program, and he knows what this event means. I’m also impressed that he likes to get creative in the kitchen.”

Teresa Jacobsen of Sycamore, who was at the event for the first time to support one of the entrants, said that she was amazed at the culinary talents of the children.

“Good cooking knows no age,” she said. “I can’t even cook this well. These kids can teach me how to cook. I’m enjoying all of this great food.”

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Source: The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle, https://bit.ly/2Ov7Kbu

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Information from: The Daily Chronicle, http://www.daily-chronicle.com

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