Mundhada cooking, growing alongside club


Charlotte Vanyo

Coppell High School senior Cooking For A Cause co-President and co-founder Pragati Mundhada signs up a new member at the club expo during C-lunch on Oct. 4, 2019. Cooking For A Cause members make food for events and charities.

Angela Yuan, Staff Writer

Coppell High School senior Pragati Mundhada is the co-president of Cooking For A Cause. Cooking For A Cause is a club that makes food for events and donates profits to charities. In addition, she is an AP student in National Honor Society and Health Occupations Students of America. 

How does Cooking for a Cause support the community?

When [CHS senior co-president Aditi Manjrekar and I] first started this club [in the 2017-18 school year], we went [and gave food] to local places such as [Cozby Library and Community Commons], the fire department and the police department. We’ve done schools really often. A lot of elementary teachers have certain days when they want treats. Every year, we’ve also [been to] the Bayerische Motoren Werke Dallas Marathon, and that’s a really big one, because thousands of people participate in that, and we get to hand food to the volunteers. There are elementary school carnivals we help out with, and we’ve done fundraisers for charities that the club members decide.

What food does the club make?

We’ve gone towards the sweeter side. We’ve made brownies, cookies and cupcakes. For fall, we made stuffed, baked apple desserts. We’ve also made Rice Krispie treats, and we’ve decorated them to reflect that month’s holiday, like Halloween or Christmas. My favorite food we’ve made is icebox cakes because it was really simple. It’s something we can make to go. It’s a layer of cookies or graham crackers, and then a layer of whipped cream. It can have any topping, strawberries or Oreos, or graham crackers, and you can freeze it or eat it plain, like pudding. When we froze it, we found that it turned very cake-like, so it’s easy to cut. We gave them to the teachers for [to show appreciation on Thanksgiving]. The hardest thing we did was when we had an oven. We took apples and carved them out and made [apple pie filling] with cinnamon and crumbles. We baked [the filling] and stuffed it into the hollow apples. That was really cool and it ended up well. We gave them to CISD custodians. We used to have a small kitchen area [in room A106] with a stove and an oven and the sink and all, but unfortunately, after renovations [last semester], those were taken out, so we’ve started to do no-bake items. A year ago, we made a no-bake cheesecake, and this year, we made an icebox cake, so we’ve really made use of the refrigerators we have.

What do you do in your role as co-president?

There’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes. We have to figure out recipes and get the ingredients. We have to be efficient because the school doesn’t have many appliances for 30 to 40 kids to use, so we have to figure out, a lot of the time, no-bake options. We delegate tasks to [other Cooking For A Cause] officers.

What inspired you to start the club Cooking For A Cause?

[In fall of 2017], Aditi and I went to [CHS health science teacher Gary Beyer]. He enjoyed cooking and baking, so we asked him to start this club, and it’s been up and running since. A lot of what I was worried about was that I wouldn’t have these central skills needed for life, and one of them was cooking. Throughout our club, we try to implement these skills. Although we don’t outright say it, students are starting to get a better sense of converting measurements, what tools to use, things like that.

What do you enjoy about the club?

I found that I’ve developed a lot of new skills. I used to be very shy in school. I wouldn’t answer questions. Forcing myself to be a leader in something has helped me a lot, not only in the classroom but outside of school as well. I became more ready to take initiative and started to make more decisions for myself and others rather than following others.

What other activities are you involved in?

I’m in HOSA [Health Occupational Students of America]. This year, I’ll be competing [in HOSA Competitive Events]. I’m doing the forensic science event [at the area level]. HOSA is really fun. It’s helped me get a lot of exposure to the medical field, which is what I want to go into. The competition is my favorite part. I competed last year as well and I didn’t make it, but the experience was fun, and I want to have that experience one last time before I graduate. Outside of school, I do dance, and I’ve been learning for [seven] years now. It’s called Kathak, and it’s an Indian classical dance. I learned on Sundays, and I also teach beginner classes on Fridays. It’s really fun. It’s a little bit stressful since we have exams to pass and it’s a very structured, disciplined kind of learning.

What appeals to you about the medical field? 

There are so many new advancements going on. I did an internship over the summer in [India], and I saw that the equipment was very different from what we use. It made me realize our nation has a lot of advanced technology that can be used to change for the better or for the worse. 

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