This year’s Food Revolution Day came and went in what seemed like the blink of an eye. After months of anticipation, at one point on Friday morning as I led my Grade 4 and 5 classes through Jamie Oliver’s live-streamed lesson, I had a brief moment of “It’s really happening” and then had to get back to keeping a watchful eye on 45 kids under 12 wielding box graters!
My activities for Food Revolution Day this year were two Food Revolution-themed classes with my regular cooking club boys, taking part in Jamie Oliver’s live lesson, streamed online on the morning of Food Revolution Day with 45 of my own students where we would make the rainbow wraps “with Jamie” and a parent-child class in the evening of the Day where we would make a soup, the wraps and four different kinds of smoothies – all official Food Revolution Day recipes. Let’s just say there were a lot of box graters involved!
They say never work with kids or animals on TV. Well I say “never rely on technology when you’re working with kids”. It’s my rule of thumb everyday in the classroom that I should have backup plan in case my technology fails and that was the one thing I was concerned about for my first Food Revolution Day activity on Friday morning (apart from little people grating their fingers) – would the technology work? With SO many people watching (nearly 10 000 schools at last count and who knows how many other people besides that) I was worried the live stream might keep stopping – and I know what kids are like when technology fails (fortunately I think I could have taught the class by myself but it wouldn’t have been the same!). We started a bit late due to some scheduling issues and the stream was a little glitchy but after some initial stalling, we were well on our way. The boys seemed pretty keen and excited to be cooking “with Jamie” (though they were disappointed that he wasn’t there in person!) and they were particularly keen to start cooking – waiting kinda sorta patiently to hear “Boys and Girls around the world, let’s get cooking”!
I have to say, even though I thought I was SO organised and had thought of everything, the MESS that this made was quite something! I wonder if everyone else around the world spent an hour cleaning the work stations and another hour washing box graters?! ;) Totally worth it though- what a GREAT activity – teaching kids useful skills as well as giving them the chance to taste something different.
I don’t know I would have chosen beetroot as the main ingredient myself – it’s quite a strong taste and I heard more than once that it “smelled and tasted like dirt”. Yep, it kind of does! In any case, I was thrilled to see boys trying – even a couple of bites (we used 6″ tortillas so they didn’t make huge servings) – and I love that they learned you can grate a whole bunch of vegetables, have a lot of fun and produce a great meal in about 30 minutes Had this been a real lesson (it was part of our New Boys’ Day celebrations so timing was tight!) I would have chatted with them about different fillings they could grate for this wrap if they didn’t like beetroot. When I send the recipes to the parents I’ll mention this – it’s most definitely a fun activity for kids in the kitchen! With thanks to Steve, Catherine, Anna, Emilie, Brian, Jay, Drew and Jennifer for your support and help on Friday (and always!).
After cleaning up as best we could (that’s a LOT of box graters to wash!), we bid farewell to the boys and I headed to Sobeys to shop for my class that evening at Nella Cucina. As in previous years (2012 and 2013), I hosted a parent-child class where most of the work was done by the kids but where the parents got to see how getting kids in the kitchen doesn’t need to be complicated and how preparing a healthy meal with your kids can be fun! I was so lucky to have the beautiful space at Nella Cucina donated, Sobeys as my grocery sponsor, Harper Collins Canada as a book sponsor (everyone got a copy of Save with Jamie!), the amazing Mary-Catherine Anderson (and her whole family!) as my co-teacher on Friday and a visit from fellow Toronto Food Revolution Ambassador Carol Harrison. It made for a really well-organised event – and we even ran on time!
I’d chosen to make the wraps, a soup and all four of the smoothies – in part to support Jamie’s recipe choices for the Day but also because I think these recipes all showcase some important kitchen techniques and are recipes that can be adapted according to tastes and/ or what’s on hand. Teach a child a basic technique (soup, smoothie, wrap) and you open the door to a whole lot of different possibilities!
We started out making the soup…
Mary Catherine got to cooking the soup…
And the smoothies?
The favourite? The green smoothie. That would be bananas, spinach and apple juice with a dash of lime. Who would have thought?
As we wrapped up (pun intended and on time! – it must be all that practice I have working with the boys in an hour that helps when it comes to keeping to a schedule in the kitchen with kids!), I looked around the kitchen space (which was lovely and clean thanks to AJ, Calan and Hamish) and paused for just a second. Wow. THAT’S what it’s all about. Happy, engaged kids. Happy parents. Full tummies (full of goodness). THAT’S how you get kids excited about food. Thanks Jamie for the inspiration. Thank you to the team at Sobeys, Harper Collins Canada and, of course Nella Cucina, for making this event possible. Thank you Mary Catherine, AJ, Calan and Hamish for being indispensable in the kitchen. All of your generosity was so very appreciated. I’m already looking forward to next year!
You might also like some recent articles I’ve written about cooking with kids:
Getting kids excited about food for Food Revolution Day and beyond on JamieOliver.com
Why I cook with kids on GustoTV
How to choose a recipe to cook with kids on GustoTV
Tips for cooking with kids on Philly Canada
Canadians: Win a KitchenAid® 9-Speed Architect Hand Mixer and one copy of At Home with Lynn Crawford. Closes TODAY Monday May 19th 2014 at 6pm EST. Details here.