Community dinner offers taste of the past
It has been almost 20 years since I have been in the old home economic room at the former Eudora Middle School. Of course, 20 years ago the building was the high school. Back then, the home ec room had two separate classrooms, the south side for cooking and the north side for sewing.
Last week, I was a guest at the Red Card Cafe. The north side, which once was lined with numerous sewing machines, was transformed into a "restaurant" by the culinary arts class at the current vocational education center.
It's amazing what some paint and bright tablecloths can do to a room. The food was prepared on the south side, where I once remember making a Milky Way cake that called for seven full-size candy bars in the recipe. It was very rich but good. For some strange reason, though, I'm not particularly fond of that candy bar anymore.
The students in the new program at the education center are Eudora and De Soto high schoolers who have an interest in pursuing a profession in culinary arts. They spend their mornings with instructor Jason Gray, who spearheaded the idea of the cafe.
Gray wants to make it a monthly fund-raising event for the program. Each student will get a chance to choose the menu, figure the budget to purchase the needed items, and serve as host or hostess.
About 35 parents, administrators and community members were guests Thursday night at the cafe. Jackie Tyree was the hostess. The menu she chose consisted of vegetable soup, penne pasta with chicken and apple crisp for dessert. I thought the food was delicious.
I enjoyed watching the students serve their families and friends. One server chuckled as he introduced himself to the patrons at one of his tables. It was obvious they knew who he was -- I think it was his family -- but he still had to follow the procedure.
The server at our table was very polite and made sure our glasses were always filled and constantly kept checking to see if we needed anything. She did a very nice job, as did all the students.
I think the culinary arts program is a wonderful thing for the students who may pursue it as a career. It's a great thing for all the school districts involved as well. I hope I am asked back to enjoy more dinners prepared by the students in the future. My compliments to the chefs.