LEHMAN TWP. — A lesson about the Nazi invasion of Denmark provided an opportunity to incorporate a hands-on experience for students at Lehman-Jackson Elementary School March 4.
Nineteen students in Shelene James’ sixth-grade class headed into the school’s cafeteria kitchen to make Arme Riddere, also known as “Poor Knight’s Dessert.” The pastry corresponds with a book the class read called “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry.
The dessert plays a small role in the story but represents how food rations restricted the public’s use of many common ingredients such as cream, butter, cinnamon and sugar during the Nazi invasion of Denmark in 1943, James said.
Food rations made sweets such as cakes and cupcakes impossible to make, James said.
“Making of ‘Poor Knight’s Dessert’ gave the students an idea of the flavors” unavailable at the time, James said.
“It was neat how they (the book’s characters) pooled the goods together to make the dessert,” 11-year-old Adam Walp said.
Wearing hair nets, aprons and plastic kitchen gloves the students formed an assembly line along a stainless steel table in the school’s cafeteria kitchen.
The class was organized into small groups, and each was assigned a duty. Some students buttered two baking sheets while others prepared the sugar and cinnamon mixture, coated slices of bread with milk or mashed up strawberries in a strainer.
Sixth-grade student Jessica DeAngelis, 12, was busy using her hands to squeeze the juice out of strawberries that were in a strainer with a bowl underneath.
“It feels like I am smooshing my hands in Jello,” DeAngelis said.
The recipe originally called for raspberries. “We all agreed to use strawberries instead,” James said.
Once the slices of bread mixed with milk, cinnamon and sugar were prepared, James put them in the oven. The students switched gears and began to clean up their workspace.
The scent of cinnamon in the air drew interest from school Principal Donald James.
“It smells really good,” he said.
When the oven timer bell rang, two baking sheets were removed from the oven. Students heated up the strawberry juice and carefully poured spoonfuls it over the bread.
The teacher cut the bread slices in half and carried the trays out to the students.
“Poor Knight’s Dessert” received a big thumbs up from all the students.
“It tastes like French toast,” Brady Newman, 12, said.
“I didn’t think it would taste good because of the milk and cinnamon,” 12-year-old Kendall Decker said. “But it is really good. I could definitely make this at home.”
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.