Lasagna Bake-Off!

Chefs DiGiammarino and Bowser.

Mrs. DiGiammarino, Redbank Valley High School English teacher, and Sammi Bowser, a seventh grade student in DiGiammarino’s fourth period class, decided to have a Lasagna Bake-Off in Room 206. This all happened because DiGiammarino, “the Italian queen”, said she made the best lasagna, but Sammi claimed that she could make better lasagna than DiGiammarino.  And so, the Lasagna Bake-Off was on!  The judges were the students in the class, who voted for the better lasagna after tasting each one blindly.  

Of course, DiGiammarino turned the bake-off into a writing assignment to be published on The Bark, the high school online newspaper.  She split students in class into different groups and assigned them different reporting and writing tasks. Some of the tasks included writing the lede and conclusion, describing the lasagnas, interviewing the chefs, gathering  judges’ comments, and creating a slideshow with captions.  This very article, which now continues with lasagna descriptions,  is the work of these writing groups.

Lasagna A was burnt around the edges and darker on top than Lasagna B.  When examining Lasagna B, you could see the cheese and meat better.  Lasagna A was very delicious, dolce, and smelled like sauce and meat.  The edges were crispy and even burnt in places. Lasagna B was brighter in color; you could see the meat chunks; and it smelled like cheese. It was rich with cheese and salty.   The texture of the dishes was also different. Lasagna A was thick and dense, while Lasagna B had less sauce, but the noodles were soft. 

During the blind taste test, Finley Minich preferred Lasagna A, “It was gooey and very cheesy.”   Garrett Shaffer said, “Lasagna A had better taste and texture.”  Cole Monrean added, “It tasted like all the toppings blended together and didn’t just taste like noodles.”   Many judges preferred Lasagna B.   Logan Smathers stated, “It wasn’t goopy, and it didn’t have too much cheese.”   Dakota Smith added, “It had more spices and better noodles.”    Gavin Kerchinski agreed, “…it had better noodles.”

When Chef DiGiammarino was asked her about her “homemade” lasagna, she confessed that there were a few bumps in the road. When she realized her mother gave the family pasta maker to a grandaughter, she had to buy Barilla oven-ready lasagna noodles. Luckily, she used her family sauce recipe to save the day. The first time she made and served her lasagna was in  high school. “It was really bad,”  she claimed. She also shared details of her recipe, which included the DiGiammarino Family homemade sauce and ricotta cheese.  The meat she used was a mix of lean ground beef and pork.  

Chef Bowser said, “I’m feeling kind of scared about my competition.”  She added,  “I only have a year of experience in baking lasagna.”  Chef Bowser described her lasagna as really cheesy and said the meat that was used was sourced from her grandfather’s farm. She claims her lasagna needed more sauce. Chef Bowser said that her favorite ingredients to use in the kitchen are meat and cheese.

At the end of the bake-off, the final votes were 13 to 8 in favor of Lasagna A.  The two chefs finally revealed that DiGiammarino made Lasagna A and won!  Even though Chef Bowser was a little disappointed, she was still a good sport. She walked over and shook DiGiammarino’s hand and congratulated her while DiGiammarino was doing her happy dance!  


Note:  This article was a collaboration of all students in Period 4 English 7 class.   The author posted on the article, Kloey Chestnut, volunteered along with Finley Minich to edit the article for publication.   DiGiammarino has plans for three more bake-offs so all seventh grade classes may experience journalistic writing.