The decision to prepare sausage-stuffed manicotti and cookie dough bars Thursday wasn’t too difficult a decision for one group of culinary students at the Tri-Tech Skills Center.
“I figured everyone loves manicotti,” said Luke Mauth, a senior at Kamiakin High School. “It has that creaminess, and red sauce is comforting. And cookies are always good.”
Mauth and the other culinary students knew that what they made needed to be comforting. Their dishes were destined for My Friends Place, the Tri-Cities’ teen homeless shelter, to feed 13 youths and two adult volunteers in the days before Christmas.
Instructor Luanne Wiles and her students worked with Gesa Community Credit Union last year to provide meals to the shelter at Thanksgiving. The credit union recently approached Wiles about doing it again, this time for Christmas. She said her students were all in when she told them.
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“The process was beautiful. We had a lot of discussion around what it’s like to not be in your home,” Wiles said. “It was great to hear the kids tell themselves ... how important comfort food is.”
We had a lot of discussion around what it’s like to not be in your home. It was great to hear the kids tell themselves ... how important comfort food is.
Luanne Wiles, culinary instructor
Eight student teams chose recipes for their meals. Along with being comforting, they also needed to be relatively easy to transport and then stored in a freezer.
The result was a smorgasbord of savory and sweet — bacon macaroni and cheese and chicken enchiladas, red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and brownies, among other dishes.
Kaity Garrison, a Southridge High School senior, made pumpkin spice rolls with her team. The recipe is the same one she’s used for several years while cooking at home during the holidays.
Getting to cook something that she holds close to her heart makes what they are doing for the teen shelter that much more meaningful, she said.
“Usually we’re making food for people who pay for it,” she said, referring to the cafe the students operate at Tri-Tech. “But for My Friends Place, we want to share with them. We’re helping out our friends.”