Retired school cook returns to teach kids breadmaking

Darlene Aubuchon — Fr. Aubuchon’s mother — is a familiar face at St. George School in Hermann


Growing up on a farm in Hermann, Darlene Aubuchon had plenty to do outside to keep her busy, but she did pick up some cooking skills along the way.

“I was a pure farm girl,” she said. “I spent more time outside on the tractor doing this and that. But my mom was a good cook, and I learned some from her. I also learned from my grandmother, who was a good cook.”

Mrs. Aubuchon — mother of Father Christopher M. Aubuchon, parochial administrator of St. Lawrence Parish in Elizabeth, and of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in St. Anthony — said she really learned about successful cooking when she was offered a job as a cook for St. George School in Hermann, where she worked for 30 years.

“You learn a lot fast when you’re cooking for 200 kids,” she stated.

Mrs. Aubuchon is now retired, but she still returns to the school each year to teach the second graders about breadmaking, and she has many fond memories from her time as the school cook.

Each year, the second-graders would have their First Holy Communion in the historic church in nearby Starkenburg, and the students got to pick the menu for the accompanying meal, often classic kid favorites such as pizza and cinnamon rolls.

“I would cook it and haul it over there,” said Mrs. Aubuchon.

She also remembers special meals on the last day before Easter break, Grandparents Day meals, and a final sendoff meal for the eighth-graders on their last day at the school.

“I wanted them to go out knowing they were especially loved,” said Mrs. Aubuchon. “On their last meal, we would decorate the tables. I just cleaned out the freezer on them. Whatever they wanted, we got and made.”

She started her tradition of teaching kids to make bread back when she worked at the school, and she continues to return to the school to teach it.

She tells the students they are individuals, but together they make a class, and likewise, the individual ingredients together make bread.

Students take turns mixing the ingredients, and then after the dough rises, they each get some to knead.

After the bread is baked, the students get some to take home to enjoy.

Mrs. Aubuchon said this was her favorite part of working in a school — interacting with the students, providing them a welcoming place to eat good food.

“Getting to know the kids,” she said was her favorite part of the job. “... I wanted them to know they were special.”

Mr. Herrold is the field editor for Missouri Farmer Today (, which published a version of this article on April 26. This slightly revised version is printed here with permission.