On December 9th, 13 teens gathered to experience a special TCR Teen Culinary Day rooted in a curiosity and shared passion for food and flavor. The group first met together at TCR, enjoying lunch, a food-based icebreaker, and an Opening Circle to recognize shared experiences. A participant shared afterwards that “[It was] a really fun way to meet other teens.”
The group then traveled together to Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street, located in downtown Boston. The excitement of the teens as they first entered 177 Milk Street was audible, as they whispered comments such as “Wow!…Oh my gosh, look, this is amazing – a real TV studio… See, there’s the director’s chair!” The kitchen was in fact a functioning studio, serving as a home for Milk Street Television, Milk Street Radio, a magazine publication, and a cooking school.
The lightly drifting snow set a seasonably-appropriate backdrop, while delicious smells of the recipes demonstrated by the hosting chef—”Rosie” (Rosemary) Gill—filled the warm kitchen. The teens then had the opportunity to work closely together in small teams, trying their hand at mixing, rolling, and cooking yogurt flatbreads in a cast iron skillet and flavoring them with a variety of self-prepared herbed butters. While alternating roles, the teens were invited to make their rounds to the other stovetop stations, taste-testing and savoring one another’s creations. The teens also observed a culinary demonstration of tahini brownies, most of them tasting this unique ingredient for the first time.
The whole group settled down together to enjoy a family-style meal of lemon grass-coconut chicken or tofu, paired alongside their flavored flatbreads and the brownies. As a meaningful addition to the event, the teens had been invited to each bring and share about a “memory recipe” or image of a food connected to their person who died. The group discussed that food can have deep meaning, with the smells and tastes bringing vivid and unique memories. Finally, the teens each received a copy of one another’s memory foods and were invited to compile them in a recipe notebook.
During a closing back at TCR, the teens laughed and shared about their most memorable moments and “take-aways” from the event. Many commented on how much it meant to meet and spend time with others who had similar experiences. One teen shared that the Teen Program events are “really helpful and super fun,” while another advised to any others curious about the program that, “It’s a great time—don’t underestimate it.”
All of the teens identified that they would love to return to Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street one day. Genuine appreciation is extended to Christopher Kimball for generously donating the staff time, ingredients, and kitchen time for the event; and warmest of thanks to our hosts: Rosie Gill and the culinary volunteers, who placed many hours, effort, and skill into preparing and facilitating the event.