This story was written by returning FoodCorps service member Noah Donnell-Kilmer, who serves with Garden School Foundation in Los Angeles. Read on to understand the roller coaster ride of teaching and the stories that make the chaos of teaching in school gardens and cooking for kids all worthwhile in this work.
Cooking with elementary schoolers is always an exercise in relinquishing control of children. Yes, you have a set recipe and a vision of how said recipe should look, with proper ratios of ingredients, well chopped pieces, and a beautiful appearance. However, this is not what cooking class is about. You are more of a guide in a cooking class.
You can show them all the knife skills and impress upon them the importance of knife safety. You can show the proper amounts of each ingredient to add and teach them all about the nutritional values of fruits and vegetables. Yet, at the end of the day, cooking classes, much like garden classes, are spaces for experimentation and discovery. In cooking class, new tastes are tried, knives are used for the first time, bicycle blenders spin, the seed to table cycle is completed, and kitchen vocabularies expand with new descriptive terms.
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