Class Spotlight – Cooking Arts
This semester, the Cooking Arts students in grades 5-8 have been learning about the digestive system and recipes that feed and enhance the digestive system. We started in January with making Curtido, a fermented cabbage recipe from El Salvador. The following weeks we made Papusas (also from El Salvador), to go with the Curtido. Pususas are stuffed corn tortillas. The Pupusas were stuffed with black lentils, green Chiles, kale and cheese.
In February the children enjoyed an Italian spaghetti dish with a sauce made from roasted pumpkin flavored with sage and Parmesan cheese and topped with toasted almonds.
Beet wraps were a hit, with cream cheese and feta along with spinach and kale leaves. The bright pink and green colors were a fun surprise to the children when we cut the wraps in half. It felt like a hint of spring that was finally on its way! Baked Chile Rellenos stuffed with roasted butternut squash and quinoa, smothered with cheese on a corn tortilla, with cilantro purple cabbage salad were many children’s favorites!
7th and 8th grade have also been making smoothies (mango papaya, yellow beet and beet leaves, with turmeric, avocado and almond butter) and banana pancakes (banana, ground flax and oatmeal, with cardamom and eggs). The older children were ready to be introduced to the blenders, and a smoothie is something they can enjoy for a snack or breakfast at home.
As I said earlier, the older grades have been talking about the digestive system and gut bacteria, now called the “second brain” by scientists. It was fun to see them at first wrinkle their noses when talking about the gut and bacteria, but as the weeks went by get fascinated and curious.
The 1st through 4th grades, have been making Rainbow Salad, Harvest Soup, Cardamom Sweet Rice Balls with Mango, Sweet Potato Latkes with Applesauce, and now Sunshine Yellow Quinoa with vegetables and papaya spiced with turmeric.
It is exciting to see how eager and proud the younger children are when cooking their own meals, and how their curiosity is sparked to try new foods and spices. If you have never come to volunteer in Cooking Arts, come!! It’s a joy to see the children cook and to share a meal with them!
The 2018-2019 school year is coming to an end and with it Cooking Arts for the time being. Please know it’s with much sadness that I let go of Cooking Arts for next year, but also appreciation, excitement and joy as I think back at the 6 years we have had Cooking Arts at Mountain Song. Now looking back at these years, I see the importance of cooking in schools and how food is the foundation to health and well-being. Children do not only learn how to cook, but they also get inspiration to enjoy healthy eating when they cook. The children learn teamwork, helpfulness, kindness, lots about customs and different countries, history, math, science, art and writing. That’s pretty amazing for just one subject!!
Next year I will remain at Mountain Song and also will be working on a Cooking Arts cookbook and curriculum. There will be no Cooking Arts classroom since we need to make way for adding another grades class to Mountain Song. I have been assured, however, that there will be a Cooking Arts classroom and program back when the classroom shortage can be solved. It has been wonderful to experience the support and appreciation of the Cooking Arts program! Thank you to all volunteers and children at Mountain Song. It’s been a pleasure to develop and teach Cooking Arts at Mountain Song Community School, and I look forward to your continued support in the future!
Ms. Jennie Furman