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Superior Sushi

PWPL teen program gets kids cooking

Attendees of Teen Tuesdays: Gastronomy 102, Japanese Foods at the Peter White Public Library line up to assemble their sushi rolls. (Journal photo by Trinity Carey)

By TRINITY CAREY

Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — In a fast-paced, convenience-based culture more and more people are consuming fast and premade food on a regular basis. But there is satisfaction to be found in creating a meal from scratch and enjoying it with friends.

At the Peter White Public Library’s Teen Tuesday: Gastronomy 102, Japanese Foods, youngsters grades 6 through 12 gathered in the Youth Services programming room to prepare all the ingredients necessary to assemble their own sushi.

The idea for this event goes along with the astronomy theme of the PWPL’s summer reading program A Universe of Stories, but incorporates a love for food, said Teen Programming Coordinator Mary Schneeberger.

“This sprang from my Japanese anime club that we had during the year,” Schneeberger said. “We did a lot of Japanese pop culture and I did sushi with them not so well, so I wanted to give it another try. Also, teenagers love sushi. I myself am not a sushi fan, but they really seem to enjoy it, so they’re giving me a lesson today.”

Youth began the program by preparing their ingredients. They made their own sushi rice using sugar and rice vinegar and chopped up cucumbers, carrots, crab, lettuce and even made their own teriyaki sauce with fresh garlic and onion. At another station, students followed a recipe to make Yakimeshi, a Japanese fried rice.

“The point is to make things from scratch as much as possible and show them what it takes to make the food that they’re eating out or that their mom serves to them,” Schneeberger said.

Once the fried rice was complete and all the ingredients were prepped, students laid out the sushi rice onto a sheet of nori, which is a sheet of seaweed sushi is typically rolled in. Next, they added ingredients of their choosing and got to rolling. They even cut their own rolls to share with one another.

To complete a meal on your own and share it with others is a gratifying experience, Schneeberger added.

“There’s so much satisfaction in cooking a good meal and enjoying it,” Schneeberger said. “I feel really proud. Anything you can do yourself and then enjoy along with other people; food is what brings us all together a lot of the times.”

Amanda Pierce, soon to take over the role of teen programming coordinator, said events such as these give youth a chance to see how different flavors can work and come together.

“I think it’s a good thing for them to learn because a lot of times they don’t teach it in schools and they may get some of it from home, but this is a completely hands-off approach and we let them do the entire thing,” Pierce said. “We’re here to supervise and help, but they get to make it 100% themselves.”

The PWPL has held similar events in previous summers such as a Mexican foods day where youth made guacamole, refried beans and salsa.

Events such as these bring youth back into the library in the summer and may just get them to leave with a book in their hands, Pierce said.

“They get to see their peers in the summer, they get to try new things and we get to bring them into the library because we lose a lot of them during the school year,” Pierce said. “It’s nice to bring them back to the library in the summer and remind them that we’re still here and show them the newest books and foster a nice love of their library.”

For more information on upcoming Teen Tuesdays and other library programs, visit the Peter White Public Library Youth Services Facebook page or the PWPL website.

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is tcarey@miningjournal.net.

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