Refining Palates

Kids Dig Into Indian Fare At Museum’s Culinary Class

Posted: February 8, 2013

Sonali Aradhey (right), a native of India, helps Allison Hoffman make a lentil crepe during a class at Classic Kitchen and Bath on Deyerle Avenue on Thursday. The class, hosted by the Explore More Discovery Museum, was part of the “Culinary Kids” series for children up to grade four. (Photos by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
Sonali Aradhey, a native of India, with Melanie Veith (back right), the museum’s program manager, shows the kids how to make samosas and raita, a cucumber-tomato salad made with yogurt.
Marley McGlaughlin tastes a lentil crepe with raita dip on Thursday.
Jackson Li, 7, mixes potato filling for samosas on Thursday.
HARRISONBURG — Though 5-year-old Maisey Meaney’s palate hadn’t previously been introduced to Indian cuisine, several bites of a lentil crepe Thursday evening confirmed her affinity for the South Asian fare.

“It’s kind of like a regular pancake,” said Maisey, one of several children partaking in the Explore More Discovery Museum’s new “Culinary Kids” series who said they enjoyed the flavorful eats.

Winning over her pupils’ taste buds is part of the fun for teacher Sonali Aradhey, a native of India and museum employee. Aradhey taught the kindergartners through fourth-graders how to make a couple of dishes Thursday at Classic Kitchen and Bath in Harrisonburg.

The tiny chefs started out making samosas filled with a combination of potatoes and spices and moved on to lentil crepes with raita, a yogurt-based salad.

“I think they were great to try the different foods,” Aradhey said. “I chose [dishes] based on what ingredients are available here.”

Along with picking up some culinary tricks, the kids also learned a bit about Indian culture, including how to complete one of the day’s tougher tasks: eating with one hand, as is the custom in India.

“The customs are different,” Melanie Veith, program manager of the Explore More Discovery Museum, explained to the children. “It’s good manners [in India] to eat with your hand.”

The class was the first in a series of three being offered by the museum. Although the other two planned courses, “Oodles of Noodles” and “Sweet Treats,” are already full, according to Lisa Shull, the museum’s executive director, more cooking classes are sure to be offered in the future.

Shull encouraged those interested to keep a lookout for classes on the museum’s website —

“The cooking classes have been very popular with our preschool [children] and a lot of the parents wanted something for the older kids,” she said. “It’s not every day that you can have somebody who’s a native of India who can teach them these skills.”

Contact Emily Sharrer at 574-6286 or

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