One Central Kitsap High School food class received a special treat other than the cookies they were baking on Tuesday afternoon.
State Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-23rd) stopped in to the school for a period-long observation in a food class. Rolfes was invited by Cynthia Blinkinsop, a national board certified teacher to sit in and observe her food sciences class in action.
Rolfes represents the 23rd legislative district, which includes several Kitsap County communities from Bainbridge Island to East Bremerton.
“I appreciate her being here especially because she’s on the education committee,” Blinkinsop said.
As a teacher, she decided to reach out to the senator to show her what hands-on activities students are doing in courses like hers.
“Her easy nature with students makes her really approachable for kids,” she said.
Rolfes sits on several boards, including the Quality Education Council, Early Learning & K-12 Education committee and the Education Accountability System Oversight Committee.
Due to the holidays being near, the next few weeks Blinkinsop’s students will be focused on baking six different types of cookies. Not only do students bake, but they learn the science behind what they do when they pour ingredients with caution, she said.
After a quick review, Blinkinsop went over the day’s objective and told students to be careful in following a recipe. The lab of the week focused on how substitutions of various types of flour impact the texture of baked goods. The students also are learning about variables, including how flour is a dependent variable and oven temperatures are independent variables, she said.
“A recipe’s technical stuff,” she told the class.
Rolfes took to the front of the room to explain her job, and encouraged students to ask her questions as she wandered about in observation.
“It’s good for me to get into the classroom every once in awhile,” she said.
Rolfes mentioned the Senate Page Program as well, and said she’d be happy to offer information to curious students about the program that allows young adults to observe politics in action.
“This is so much more scientific,” Rolfes said of the classroom activities compared to her school days. “We just learned how to crack an egg. The very basics.”
For Rolfes’ visit, the students worked on putting together cantuccini, commonly known as biscotti. Blinkinsop told the group of about thirty students that it would be a two-day, two-bake cookie process. She encouraged students to choose between measuring and weighing ingredients, noting that weighing is easier during the baking process.
Yet all the students chose to measure, much to Rolfes’ surprise. The senator told Blinkinsop she’s always learning new things about baking, including the fact that she recently learned that baking soda does expire.
While eating is certainly the highlight of the course, the science portion came as a surprise to some, including Kenrick Haylock. He originally signed up for the course to eat the food, but discovered along the way that there’s more to the class than downing goodies.
“I really didn’t pay attention to the labels on the side of the boxes (before this class),” the 16 year old said. “It’s crazy what we eat — we don’t even know what’s in it or what it can do to us.”
As for Rolfes’ visit, the junior was excited about a political figure peeking over his shoulder during his cooking lab.
“It’s good to see someone in high power is doing something in the community and checking out the school,” he said.