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Nanook School students learn to cook in afterschool program

Some elementary school students in the Apex area of Iqaluit have been learning more than just math and grammar this year, swapping textbooks for cookbooks after school.

Meatballs, potatoes and quiche are on the menu at elementary school in Apex

Some elementary school students in the Apex area of Iqaluit have been learning more than just math and grammar this year, swapping textbooks for cookbooks after school. (CBC)

Some elementary school students in the Apex area of Iqaluit have been learning more than just math and grammar this year, swapping textbooks for cookbooks after school.

Approximately 100 students between Grades 1 and 5 at Nanook School signed up for the inaugural after­school cooking club, aimed at teaching them basic meal preparation skills, including healthy eating tips and how to go grocery shopping.

"Some of the kids didn't know how to crack an egg when they first started and now they're here making quiche so it's fantastic," said Kerry McCluskey, the parent who launched the program.

'The kids are now pro at making pizzas,' says Kerry McCluskey, a Nanook School parent who launched the afterschool cooking program. (CBC)

"This is the first year but this is not the last year. We'll be running this for as long as we can."

On Friday, the student ­chefs got to showcase their skills at a year-­end community feast. More than 30 people showed up for the free meal. The children prepared most of the menu which featured stuffed potatoes, nacho chips, quiche, homemade chicken nuggets and the club ­favourite: meatballs.

The local men's shelter also donated macaroni along with some ingredients for cake and some parents also pitched in.

Kaj Sandbakken, 10, said meatballs are the most fun to make.

"It's like making a cookie. But the meatball, you can do the same thing as with dough and you can put whatever you want on it."

Guests check out the food prepared by the student ­chefs at Nanook School in Apex at a community feast on Friday. (CBC)

For Friday's feast, the students made close to 700 meatballs in an hour. They got so good at making them, they used their new­found skill to help the community.

"We took them to the soup kitchen and they made about 400 or 500 meatballs there," McCluskey said.

"The other thing that they made a lot of is pizza. The kids are now pro at making pizzas, so I think we're going to do some fundraisers using pizzas. Maybe some pizza delivery night."

The club is only losing two members to graduation and there are a bunch of kindergarten students moving up into Grade 1. McCluskey said she hopes many of them will join the cooking club.

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