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Things are cooking at day camp – Daytona Beach News |

Things are cooking at day camp – Daytona Beach News

Not that they minded — why else would they have signed up for the two-day Kids Kamp at Simple Fresh Cooking School in New Smyrna Beach?

The pasta production was well under way by mid-morning, when I went by the school — aka the Art Center Avenue residence of Ed and Nora Pankonin. Five campers were gathered around the huge kitchen island that serves as the couple’s cooking classroom, each at a different stage of feeding dough through the pasta sheet attachment of a Kitchenaid mixer, spooning out filling, folding, cutting and crimping.

It was day two of the camp and, though this was their first attempt at ravioli, the kids were experts in red sauce and meatballs.

A fresh pot of sauce simmered on the stove. Ed — Mr. Eddie, as the campers called him — had demonstrated sauce-making the day before. “Today we made the sauce again, and I had them make it themselves,” he said.

“Yesterday we made 62 meatballs, and ate them all in record time,” Ed added, noting the number was increased to 72 for the second morning’s batch so there would be some for the campers to take home to their parents.

And one of those meatballs had my name on it. When he found out a writer was coming to camp, 9-year-old Dylan Dominguez suggested they set a meatball aside for me. His 11-year-old sister, Emma, delivered it on a napkin as soon as I arrived.

Meanwhile, Emma’s friend Madeline Pallemaerts, also 11, was taking her turn on the pasta machine.

Emma said she and Madeline, classmates about to start sixth grade at Creekside Middle School and Girl Scouts in Troop 1182 in Port Orange, were there to earn their cooking patch. Dylan, who goes to Cypress Creek Elementary, said he was glad he decided to tag along because the cooking camp was more hands-on than an aviation camp he attended earlier in the summer. (A pasta machine is no flight simulator, but they apparently don’t let 9-year-olds operate the latter.)

Taylor Knight, a New Smyrna Beach 12-year-old who is homeschooled, said one particular hands-on aspect of the class turned out to be her favorite — even if it didn’t start out that way. “Making the meatballs,” she said. “Mostly because I didn’t like the feel of the meat, and everybody got to make fun of me about it.”

At 13, Tyler Powers was the senior member of the class. A student at Halifax Academy in Daytona Beach, he said he enjoys cooking at home — spaghetti and meatballs is one of his specialties — and wanted to learn to make more things.

He got his wish. In addition to the aforementioned meatballs and red sauce, the campers made biscotti and a dessert bruscetta the first day. While the ravioli rested on the second day, they transformed the rest of the dough into fettucine, which I believe had a date later in the day with that second batch of red sauce.

As for the ravioli filled with ground beef, spinach and cheese, they were destined for a nutmeg-laced butter sage sauce. Ed prepared the sauce while Nora handled the pasta boiling.

I’m glad they asked me to stay for lunch.

Kids Camp will be offered again July 30-31. Call 386-427-1796 for information.

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