On September 25, Head of School Julia de la Torre introduced “Cooking with Friends,” a new monthly event that invites MFS seniors to prepare and enjoy a meal together. Eight seniors gathered at Ms. de la Torre’s house to prepare empanadas, chimichurri and chipotle sauces, and strawberry shortcake.
Ms. de la Torre was inspired by past MFS traditions and intrigued by the possibility of creating a unique experience for seniors.
“Seniors are about to enter the world of being on their own and cooking for themselves, so I liked the idea of teaching them a few skills and recipes that they could take with them,” Ms. de la Torre says. “Every ‘Cooking with Friends’ features a more traditional recipe that you cook in a kitchen and also a recipe you can cook in the microwave.”
At the end of the year, Ms. de la Torre plans to compile a cookbook of all the recipes so seniors can take them to their colleges and dorm rooms. She also notes the potential of cooking to spark new friendships and conversations.
“I wanted to do something that would give [the seniors] a chance to have fun with each other but also break the ice with me,” Ms. de la Torre says. “I think food is something that brings people together.”
Ms. de la Torre selected empanadas as the first main course for several reasons: the potential for engaging group activities, the variety of actions involved in preparation, and personal relevance. Ms. de la Torre’s father is Argentinian, and empanadas are a traditional Argentine dish.
“I enjoy cooking myself, and I learned from my own mom and dad how to cook,” she says. “I think I took for granted that I learned this my whole life, and I realize not everyone has that opportunity; some have and some haven’t. So I want to give [the seniors] some exposure to cooking in a kitchen not just for the skills but for what fun it can be.”
The next “Cooking with Friends” will focus on homemade personal pizzas, including the process of making dough. Participating seniors will receive dough to take home so they can make the recipe again with their family.