War breaks out in Milan

By Joyce Ervin

Milan Middle School-aged students participated in Cupcake Wars offered by the Community Education Department that held the event on Nov.18 in the kitchen at Symons Elementary School.
Twelve youngsters formed teams and presented their incredible creations to judges, community education director, Connie Cox, middle school health teacher, Nicole Kuenzel, and Mary Racette.
The cupcakes were artfully decorated with swirls, sprinkles, fruits, candies and sugars that delighted the eye.  The question was how they were going to taste.  Team members described their creations to the judges, who carefully tasted each, remarked on texture and commented on an ingredient that tickled their palate.  
The young pastry chefs were dedicated to the task and received points from each judge on a 1 to 20 basis for taste, originality and presentation.  Highest point winners were selected by totaling the judge’s scores.
We wouldn’t want to call it cheating or fudging but top winners, Paige Hatfield, Emilee Walker and Ryan Legier used a bit of psychology, when making their creation not just ingredients after detecting their teacher would be a judge.
Kuenzel uses a coffee-theme in her classroom and has a Koffee Korner carved in a spot.  The idea is to join in conversation and sharing of ideas.  Hatfield said, “Mrs. Kuenzel loves coffee so we changed the water to coffee.”  Translated that means, they substituted the water called for in the recipe for coffee.
It worked!  Cox agreed the chocolate mocha cupcake was the best.
Instructor Ann Racette told the group they were all winners and she was very proud of them.  The room filled with applause at that statement.  Certificates of Excellence were given to all for their participation and hard work.
There were a variety of different cupcakes.  Cameron Satterley and Jared Fairchild both sixth-graders added M&M and Reese’s Pieces candies to their creation and swirled on a caramel frosting.  Racette was surprised at how well the combination worked.
Commenting on a formal nutritional question Kuenzel, the health teacher, got a laugh from attendees, as she tasted a lemon and raspberry cupcake, and said, “the cupcakes are very nutritional.”  
So popular was the event, Cox is planning to hold another class with Racette at the helm in the spring.  Before then, the Cooking Club will meet at Symons on Dec. 16 from 3 to 5 p.m.  to make “Gifts from the Kitchen” for the holidays.  
For more information on “Gifts from the Kitchen” or other classes visit the Milan Adult and Community Education web page at milanadulted.weebly.com. or email coxc [at] milanareaschools [dot] org or call 439-5272. 

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