Jamie Oliver knows how to get kids excited about food. The official Food Revolution Day recipes this year prove that. There are so many great looking dishes that I had a hard time choosing what to make with the boys this week in both Les Petits Chefs and Cooking Basics blubs as a nod to Food Revolution Day taking place on Friday, May 16th (for all the details on how you can get involved, read this post).
Instead of hosting one huge event at school this year, I’ve opted for a few smaller events – two classes with my regular cooking club guys on Monday and Wednesday cooking Food Revolution recipes and two of my classes will take part in the Jamie’s Live Cooking Class this Friday. To round the week out, I’ll be hosting a public cooking class for parents and their children on Friday evening, thanks to generous sponsorship from Nella Cucina, Harper Collins Canada and Sobeys.
Since this year’s theme is getting kids excited about food, I really wanted the kids to be the focus, without much fuss, just learning some new recipes, trying new food and having fun – being inspired to go home and cook.
For my older students, I chose Jamie’s chicken tikka masala and invited fellow Toronto Food Revolution Ambassador Adell Shneer in to work with us. I’ve made this before – for my parent-child cooking Food Revolution Day classes in 2012 (some of you might remember the class where all the hotplates blew the fuses in the dining hall??) – and it’s a favourite of mine. Most of the boys were not in my cooking clubs back in 2012 so I figured it was a good choice. I paired this with Jamie’s Green Super Smoothie – spinach, apple juice and bananas with a touch of lime juice. For the younger guys, I thought banana bread muffins might be a good idea (we so very rarely bake) paired with tasting portions of the green and purple smoothies. Fellow Toronto Food Revolution Ambassador, Carol Harrison came to work with the boys too! Basically, the boys had a blast and made and ate some tasty food. Kind of the whole point of Food Revolution Day, wouldn’t you think?
I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking…
No “beauty shot” this week. This is what it’s like cooking with kids – there won’t always be time to make the food look all pretty… But that’s ok because they made a curry from scratch in under an hour. Including the paste!
While the curry was bubbling away…
The boys were definitely keen to try these but I’d say only about 1/2 of them really liked it. “It tastes like grass” was a common critique. Actually it tasted like apple juice and bananas but it certainly did smell a little grassy. I loved these a lot and was just pleased that the boys tried them!
The Cooking Basics boys were SO excited when they learned they would be making smoothies, then the bonus of banana bread muffins was almost too much! They worked quietly and cooperatively – proving that you don’t need a lot of time, equipment or expensive ingredients to make healthy snacks.
These muffins are an awesome snack for kids to make on their own (with a little supervision of course) – they don’t contain much sugar at all (2 tablespoons of honey which I didn’t even use) so they are pretty healthy too. I’ll definitely be making them again – perhaps adding blueberries as per one of the boys’ suggestions (or chocolate chips, as per another’s!).
The boys were SO excited to try these and I am proud to say that the little guys did much better on finishing their smoothies than the older guys. One of the boys’ mums emailed me to tell me the green smoothie was the first thing she heard about when her son arrived home after cooking club. This from a boy who normally doesn’t like bananas. Win! Watching them politely “Cheers” each other then downing the smoothies like they hadn’t had a drink in years was so rewarding for me – I normally never see them eat the food (especially if they are unsure about it) which is ok because that’s not the point of the club. It’s not eating club, right?
Hearing each boy excitedly tell Carol which recipe he was going to make at home (“All of them!”) made me realise that what we’re doing in that lab twice a week is special. Hearing that one boy likes cooking because he likes watching how ingredients change depending on how you treat them (heat etc..) made my heart sing. These boys are listening and taking it all in (even though it sometimes might not seem like it to me!). Even though sometimes I feel like my work with the boys isn’t “enough” and that I should be doing more, it’s most definitely work that is having an effect on these boys (and their families, as they bring home their knowledge). What I saw this week was kids getting excited about food. And that made me so very happy!
How can YOU get involved this Food Revolution Day? There are lots of ideas on the Food Revolution website. Cook with your kids, teach them something new in the kitchen, taste something new. Have fun.
Canadians: Win a KitchenAid® 9-Speed Architect Hand Mixer and one copy of At Home with Lynn Crawford. Closes Monday May 19th 2014 at 6pm EST. Details here.