Learning New Things Everyday
After my first week as a Growing Chefs! volunteer, I want to start off by saying how wonderful this program is. I have had such a great time already, getting to know the kids and other volunteers, and taking part in such fun activities! The kids in all three of the classes I visited this week were so excited to have the Chefs in the classroom, and they couldn’t wait to get started on the days activities. This week the kids brought in their own vegetables, and as a group we went around and shared them with the class and had a ‘vegetable sampling’, allowing the kids to try some new vegetables.
One class in particular at Mt. Pleasant Elementary were introduced to some very interesting and peculiar vegetables. Many students brought in their own vegetables, however one of the chef volunteers, Sheldon, introduced the students to a wide variety of vegetables used around the world and in different cultural cuisines. They got to look at and taste vegetables such as daikon (East-Asian white radish), anoki mushrooms, cactus, and dandelion greens. As the vegetables were introduced in the sharing circle, the students were extremely excited to try cactus in particular. As we went around sharing the vegetables, it came turn for one of the male students to share what he had brought. As he displayed his vegetable, we were all very intrigued and a bit perplexed. He explained that it was a type of eggplant from the Philippines that his mom often cooks with at home. None of the chef volunteers, nor the teacher had every seen this vegetable before. It looked sort of like a tomatillo at first, then closer up resembled a round, green gourd. The Growing Chefs! were excited to see that a student had brought in such a unique vegetable that is used in his cultural cooking and as a group we all got the opportunity to taste a new food.
This particular moment was one of my favorite experiences this week because that student got the opportunity to not only teach his class about a new vegetable, but he also introduced the Growing Chefs! to a food we had never tried before. Not only were we able to teach the kids about a variety of ‘worldly’ vegetables, but we as the teachers learned something new from our students!
– Brianne Farrall