Thursday, 9 October 2008

Kids in the Kitchen

Kids in the Kitchen

As part of Kitchen Garden Week we had a visit from Teesdale primary school. The school has been involved with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program for about a year and already the these young children were comfortable with many foods that some children could find intimidating. There were no oo’s and ah’s when olive oil, garlic, goats cheese anchovies and many other ingredients were tasted.
Some families come to the restaurant and insist that their children won’t eat anything but say a pasta with tomato sauce.

I am always saddened by such requests, not because pasta with tomato sauce is not good, but because the children must be so alienated from the food of their parents that mealtimes at home would present quite a challenge and put barriers between them that could last a long time.
Quite often as the parents are tucking into the menu
I notice that the kids are asking for tastes from the normal food so at least we can inspire these youngsters by osmosis.

These children today from Teesdale Primary genuinely looked forward to making salads and eating all good green garden fare so the kitchen garden project and the practical cooking that goes with the scheme at their school has already broken down many prejudices.
Admittedly the menu Pizza, salad and ice cream could easily be provided from commercial sources. One of the things I wanted to demonstrate was how real pizza tastes when it’s made from simple fresh ingredients in a wood oven.
The salads were also freshly picked from whatever was in the garden. We had cauliflower, broccoli, radicchio, cos lettuce, green garlic, edible succulents [these were quite a hit] and a heritage red celery.

Needless to say vanilla and chocolate ice cream were to be certain favourites, but the chocolate was not sweet and still presented no obstacles to these young people.
No amount of rhetoric will convince a young child to eat anything that does not taste good, but if alternative home made choices are offered for food that is often bought from mass commercial sources the flavours will stay with them for when the time comes to make choices for their own families.

With good appetite they tucked in and a very good time was had by all.

This is a great project that would not be possible without the many volunteers that always drive such initiatives.

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