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Children learn healthy baking at workshop in Potsdam

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POTSDAM — Little hands did the best they could to keep their oversized latex gloves on while shaping pizza dough Saturday at the Carriage House Bakery, 24 Elm St.

The North Country Children’s Museum partnered with the Potsdam Food Co-op for the second Children’s Healthy Baking Workshop.

“They’re making pizzas, and we’re going to bake them in our wood-fired oven,” bakery manager Christopher T. Affre said.

He taught the children, in kindergarten through fifth grade, each step of pizza making. “It’s important because it’s reaching out to the community, bringing people into our store and introducing young people to cooking,” Mr. Affre said.

Flour powdered not only the children’s pizza dough but their aprons and the floor.

Some of the 14 children stood on crates to reach the table where they were pressing their dough and sprinkling their pizza with desired toppings.

Linda A. Acker, a museum board member, said the goal of the baking session was to help promote and establish healthy eating habits and choices for young children.

“It teaches them that you don’t have to buy a frozen pizza or go to Pizza Hut because you can make this yourself fairly easily,” Mr. Affre said. “I’m not a nutritionist and I don’t teach healthy living. I teach people to bake.”

Mr. Affre said that although the pizza they made is marginally healthier then ordering one out, “it’s still pizza.”

“The bread is fresh and we use organic ingredients whenever possible,” he said.

Lois A. Blewett, a 7-year-old from Canton, made a cheese pizza. “I used to like sausage on my pizza but now I don’t,” she said.

Lois said she enjoys baking and “kind of” bakes at home sometimes.

Ms. Acker said the “museum without walls” not only has science, art and history, but focuses on nutrition.

“We think it’s very important in today’s world to educate kids about starting healthy eating habits at an early age,” Ms. Acker said.

The museum soon will have walls, however, as members plan to open the doors at Clarkson University’s Old Snell Hall in the fall of 2015.

Ms. Acker said one of its exhibits will be a “kid’s co-op,” in which children will be able to learn how to shop for healthy foods.

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