Culinary Literacy Center

Art of Food — Produced by Monica Rogozinski

As part of the ongoing major renovations of the Parkway Central Library, a new demonstration kitchen has been created to provide culinary literacy classes for children, teens, families, and adults. The Culinary Literacy Center’s mission is two-fold: The first part is teaching literacy skills through cooking, and the second part is exploring culinary literacy. They teach literacy skills by creating a curriculum that will be used as the basis of teaching not just reading, but also the math and even chemistry that is involved in using recipes and bringing them to life in the kitchen. They support culinary literacy through nutrition education, understanding how cooking can support disease prevention and healthy lifestyles, and offering “edutainment” cooking classes and demonstrations. The center’s staff and guest chefs and educators encourage a love of food and cooking. They provide literacy training and foster the development of problem-solving skills through cooking. They support healthy lifestyles for people of all ages and seek to improve the health of the planet and to know where our food comes from.

Web extra: The Free Library of Philadelphia’s culinary literacy program teamed up with One Book, One Philadelphia, to show us how to make a delicious Maine Fish Chowder. The recipe comes from the book “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline. Watch Chef Jameson O’Donnell provide a step by step look on how to make this New England classic.

Maine Fish Chowder


  • 1/2 to 1 lb. bacon (optional)
  • 2 cups minced onion
  • 2 stalks minced celery
  • 5 cups of chicken stock or clam juice
  • 4 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 lb. fish: any combination of cod, hake or haddock
  • 1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups of half and half
  • 1 tbsp. bacon drippings and 1 tbsp. butter

Cut bacon in 1″ long pieces and cook in a large skillet until crispy (no need to add oil to pan). Drain, set aside, and crumble when cool. Saute onions and celery in one tbsp. bacon drippings (or olive oil) and one tbsp. butter until soft. Add flour to onion mixture and mix until well combined but not dry. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil; add potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add fish on top of potatoes, simmer another 10 minutes. Season to taste with Old Bay, salt and pepper.
Cook until slightly thickened; add half-and-half. Stir in crumbled bacon or sprinkle on top with a pat of butter and a dusting of pepper.

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