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kaiess

Middle School Cooking Class

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My son is in middle school this year and they have cooking class next semester. I'm leary of letting him take this class that is scheduled for them. If I remember our cooking classes correctly there was flour EVERYWHERE!! He won't eat anything in the class but everything is contaminated with flour including I'm sure, the air. Being a 12 year old boy, I'm sure he won't be washing his hands anytime either! Don't know what to do. Do you let your kids do the class or no? I do not think changing everything to gluten-free is an option the school will give me and I would never expect them to change just for my son. Anyone else with experience have any advice?

Thanks

Kathy

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Leaning how to bake gluten free is an important exercise for all Celiac children, so I believe this is an excellent opportunity for him to learn how to accommodate himself in such an environment. Additionally, you should recognize this is a superb opportunity for the OTHER students to learn about food intolerance and allergies.

Just remember it's probably more than likely that the curriculum has been adjusted to assure a peanut free environment, so you can and should expect them to accommodate your situation as well. Many of the gluten free flours out there can be used for cup-for-cup wheat flour substitution. While I agree the whole class shouldn't be required to follow gluten free food preparation, the class should be stocked with gluten free flour and xanthan gum for your son.

I remember making many gravies in high school cooking classes. Ask the teachers to switch to corn starch, which I personally believes makes for a better gravy anyway.

The teacher should be responsible for overseeing hand-washing, which is an important step to teach to all cooking students regardless of allergies. Proper food preparation cleanup is also something that should be included as part of cooking class instruction.

My opinion -- for what it's worth. :-)

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I think it depends on if they do baking with flour everyday or if they are doing more cooking of meals. Some kids (and adults in college) have managed to get through cooking classes by being allowed to do the baked goods portion at home (so they still have to do the baking but can make it gluten-free and they are not in the class while flour is flying). That said, I think it would be too much to ask that they provide gluten-free flours or make everything gluten-free. They are required to make reasonable accomodation but they are not required to go that far. If you are able you may offer to supply the class with gluten-free flour mixes and cornstarch for thickening soups and gravies in place of flour. Otherwise, they should either work out a way to make it safe (by allowign him to leave when they do the baked goods part) or allow him to opt out of the class. I would talk to the teacher that usually teaches it before having him enroll.

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I would opt out. Yes, there are safe things he could make but it could easily be cross contaminated.

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I depends on how sensitive he is. I know of celiacs who are able to bake with wheat flour for their families without any apparent issues. Then there is my son, who has problems if he gets near wheat. He was excused from the class with a doctor's note. He did an independent study. He cooked at home and brought samples in for the teacher.

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Ask the teacher what they will be cooking -- and I would have him excused for days there is flour open. It's ridiculously hard to clean up! This is what we did for home ec -- he cooked gluten-free alternatives when it didn't involve flour, and there was only one day when it did (the rest of the days were smoothies, quesadillas, fruit platters, and soup). He was also excused from taste testing :)

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I 100% agree that it is VITAL that we teach out kids cooking skills. I want my son to enjoy it because he needs to be able to do it for himself for the rest of his life! That said, it needs to be in a safe environment as well. He's only 4 and we found out within the first week of preschool that they cook once every other week. Nice to let us know :( We tried to ask them to do it at the end of the day but they wouldn't so we had to put him in school different days to avoid it. It just isn't safe for him at this age at all. Maybe when he's older things will change but for now it was not even something I wanted to consider (he also have a long list of allergies as well).

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I wasn't diagnosed until after middle school but I used to have a celiac friend when I was that age (7th grade) who had a doctor's note (can be done with a 504) that she was to take a different class during the term in which she was assigned to cooking.

This is tricky. You want him to be able to participate and learn, but sometimes it just isn't safe. To be honest, in 7th grade they're probably not going to do a whole lot of playing with flour and things. Some days, but not all. When I was in 7th grade we made pinwheel toast (bread), orange julius (gluten-free), pita pizzas (bread), stir fry (gluten-free), fruit smoothies (gluten-free), and snicker doodles (the one time we used flour). If his curriculum looks similar, perhaps you could send him his own ingredients on the days when they're making something gluteny (like send corn tortillas to use as a crust on pita pizza day, for example). On floury days he could be excused.

This only works if you trust him to be able to clean a space for himself on the counter top, and if he will be able to put his pizza (or whatever) on aluminum foil instead of their pan, etc. So that is a possibility. You should talk in depth with your son to find out what he wants to try to do, with whoever takes care of accommodations at school, and with the teacher himself/herself. That is the only way you will know what they are scheduled to make during the term and if it would be safe for him to be there at all.

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I 100% agree that it is VITAL that we teach out kids cooking skills. I want my son to enjoy it because he needs to be able to do it for himself for the rest of his life! That said, it needs to be in a safe environment as well. He's only 4 and we found out within the first week of preschool that they cook once every other week. Nice to let us know :( We tried to ask them to do it at the end of the day but they wouldn't so we had to put him in school different days to avoid it. It just isn't safe for him at this age at all. Maybe when he's older things will change but for now it was not even something I wanted to consider (he also have a long list of allergies as well).

I find it ridiculous that they wouldn't at least move the cooking to the end of the day. Your son has a medical condition...

Argh, it makes me so frustrated to hear about this!!

I'll bet if he had a peanut allergy, they'd keep peanuts out of there.

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I find it ridiculous that they wouldn't at least move the cooking to the end of the day. Your son has a medical condition...

Argh, it makes me so frustrated to hear about this!!

I'll bet if he had a peanut allergy, they'd keep peanuts out of there.

He does and no they don't. I didn't ask for that though they have said they would make it nut free if I wanted but I don't. He need to be in as normal an environment as possible and be able to deal so he has a nut free table but not a nut free class.

I think if I would have pushed it we would have worked something out but I am 39 weeks pregnant and picking my battles carefully! lol

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I wouldn't let mine attend. I made playdough at work then went home and bam it made her sick because of the flour particles on me from work when I made pladough 8 hours earlier. We do baking at home for regular meals and other things like bread and bicuits and slices etc and my child is heavily involved in that. I teach her what's ok and what isn't and now to avoid cross-contamination. I've had her sick today because she came into the bakery with me yesterday afternoon when I picked up bread for my mum. All it took was for her to walk into the bakery! No way would it be ok for her to be in the same room with flour everywhere like that when we were only in the bakery about 3 minutes.

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