With the help of donated supplies from Slow Food USA and Anolon Cookware, the Lakewood Elementary school garden curriculum now has a cooking component. This past fall, kids harvested the last crop of tomatoes, using donated bowls and spoons to make salsa. Many had never tasted fresh salsa before and loved it. “It’s so juicy!” one child commented with a grin. Children wrote a story about how the ingredients they used changed, from a ripe Sungold tomato dangling on a plant, to a diced pulpy mess to a mixture with onion and cilantro and finally to a dip for their chip. We used donated pans to cook up our own pizza sauce and later in the fall to sauté our cooler weather harvest items – swiss chard, eggplant and spinach. Children rated each vegetable they tried and wrote their own creative recipe with the garden veggies as their main ingredients. The children loved participating in the food preparation by using donated paring knives to cut up the vegetables, herbs and garlic. As the colder weather set in and the garden slowed down, they picked cabbage and helped shred it for a garden coleslaw. The Anolon supplies helped the program progress from kids watching how to make delicious meals from fresh garden food to taking part in the process themselves. I find they’re more likely to try the food now that they have some ownership over the process. Many ask for seconds! We’ll continue the cooking curriculum with our spring harvest as we head into the warmer weather.
A 1st grade class helps get a bed ready for planting clover as a winter cover-crop
A student helps to cut up swiss chard for our garden stir fry
Donated Anolon pan that we used to saute up garden eggplant
Children try the veggies they helped prepare
Students write about how they thought the vegetable tasted
One girl shows us her descriptive writing and recipe
One second-grader’s description of the garden veggies she tried and creative recipe