Once a month, most of the classrooms in our school get a box
of a seasonal fruit or vegetable, through a program called Network for a Healthy California. I
have written previous posts with things I have cooked with the kids. I enjoy
taking on the task of finding teachers willing to do a cooking project with it,
and ultimately cooking with the kids.
The boxes arrived some time this week, full of assorted
heads of cabbage. My favorite second grade teacher (my son's old teacher)
asked if I would make coleslaw with his class, making use of their
cabbage. I quickly checked my schedule in my head, and agreed.
With the inspiration of a new cooking class in my mind, I
went around and asked a few other teachers if they would like to do the
same. My daughter's teacher agreed, as did another kinder teacher.
I prepared the dressing at home, shredded up a head of both
green and purple cabbage in the food processor, and packed up my tools. I
would have some shredded to start, bringing the food processor with me for the
The first class of the day was my daughter's. I started with
a quick overview of the humble cabbage, with it's nutritional profile,
different varieties, and it's name in Spanish, while passing around whole heads
for the children to examine. I then explained what we would be making
today, showing them each ingredient.
Working with five kids at a time, we assembled the
coleslaw. I served a small portion to each on a paper towel and they ate
with their cleaned hands. And they ate heartily! Even my daughter,
the self-proclaimed non-salad eater, asked for seconds!
I had a window of time before the next class started, so I
scoured the yard for potential classes. One was going to art, another had
test prep to do, and the other was free for the next forty minutes.
Working in the same manner as with my daughter's class, I
gave an overview, and worked with groups of five. They wanted seconds,
thirds, fourths! I emptied the bowl and moved on to my next class.
The next class was another kinder class, I had worked with
before. They remembered me, asking if we were going to cook squash
again. I gave them the schpeel and, having only fifteen minutes to work
with them, put the salad together in front of them. They were all smiles,
and ate it up.
Then came the final class of the day, the second
graders. Working with two classes combined, I gave them the overview, and
started with six kids at a time. They took turns tossing in handfuls of
shredded cabbage, poring on the dressing, and mixing. Amazingly, I made
it through all forty kids in thirty minutes!
Coleslaw was a great idea for this crowd, though I would not
have guessed! Out of every twenty kids, I would say 18 ate it, and
enjoyed it, asking for more! Either we have really great eaters at our
school, or this project has begun to make them so. Which ever it is, I
have such a fun time cooking with them!
Posted by Melissa Davis, a Dual Language parent, personal chef and blogger.