Katelyn Alexander, 10, chose cooking for her first 4-H project because she wanted to learn a little independence in the kitchen. It worked.
"It's been a wonderful learning experience," said her mother, Ranae. "She's a lot more comfortable in the kitchen."
Katelyn, of Milan, decided to be in 4-H after a friend told her how much fun she would have. She joined Huron County Junior Dairy Club.
Most of Katelyn's experience in the kitchen before taking the 4-H project was as a helper. "Just helping my mom bake cookies and stuff like that," she said. "I wanted to be able to cook more stuff."
And she has cookies, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, alphabet vegetable soup and apple crisp, the recipe she prepared for judging in the summer.
The process has been a learning experience for Katelyn. "One of my cookie recipes turned out flat, one turned out fine and the other had lumps of confectioner's sugar," she said. "We had friends over and my mom gave them some of the jack pot drop cookies. They tasted fine, but they looked flat."
Her mother said Katelyn has not only learned skills in the kitchen through her project, but 4-H has also taught her other skills. "Its been wonderful for her to get up in front of people in her demonstrations," she said. "Its been a positive experience."
Ranae said some of the things Katelyn learned were simple skills like the proper way to measure flour, but making her do the work instead of just helping was good. "You need to be patient when teaching kids to cook," she said. "You have to let them do things."
She added that she enjoyed watching her daughter learn to like cooking because she enjoys it. "I like eating, so therefore I like cooking," Ranae said. Mom said her favorite recipe Katelyn learned was the vegetable soup.
Though she enjoyed her cooking project, Katelyn plans to move on to sewing next year.