Would you be able to identify a pineapple slicer or 14 other cooking items? Well thirteen “ t'weens” had the opportunity to do just that during “Tweens in the Kitchen” sponsored by Hanford Parks and Recreation and CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California during the holiday break. The “t'weeens” actively engaged with food, practiced basic culinary techniques and completed and ate healthy recipes from start to finish. For many, this was the first time they were able to work with knifes, peelers and small appliances. The recipes promoted eating healthy fruits and vegetables along with foods from MyPlate's dairy, grains and protein groups. One participant was heard saying “I don't want to leave, this was fun.” Of course, the aroma coming from the food dishes made everyone's stomachs growl in anticipation of the final tasting. I think the smiles on their faces says it all – the Apple Pie Cups were a hit!
- Author: Yesenia Medrano
Sue Lafferty, nutrition educator with CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California told the preschoolers, the story of a hungry traveler coming to a village where no one was willing to share. The traveler started a soup in a cauldron with water and an ordinary stone. The villagers became curious and started bringing various vegetables and meat to add to the magical soup. In the end, working together the community had prepared a delicious soup that could be shared by all.
Ninety-five preschoolers and their parents had the opportunity to learn first hand the importance of sharing just one vegetable. Nutritious vegetables were brought to school where the preschoolers chopped them into bite-size pieces and learned about the importance of healthy eating. The CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California team and the preschool food service department cooked the vegetables into a glorious soup that could be shared by all. Sue Lafferty mentioned that it was so awesome to watch so many of the preschoolers and their families eat and enjoy the vegetable soup.
- Author: Yesenia Medrano
The students learned about a variety of cooking tools, including tools used to make butter, grind the coffee, grind corn, and among others. Nutrition Educators, Sue Lafferty and Eldon Bueno prepared a bread-making activity station to engage students on how to make fresh bread rolls from scratch. The recipe consisted of white and wheat flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, milk, and butter. Each student learned to knead the dough until it was smooth and elastic. You could see the excitement in their faces as they shaped their dough into perfect rolls to which they added melted butter and a sprinkle of oats for a burst of flavor. Teachers and students were amazed by the hard work involved in making the bread, one teacher shared, “This is a great way to learn about how people lived and cooked in the 1800s. Today we take for granted how easy it is to buy bread at the store.” Furthermore, students learned that bread is part of the grains group on MyPlate which provides them with carbohydrates that turn into energy!
The best part of the activity was watching eager students enjoy their freshly baked bread. In fact, one student shared, “the bread we made was good, I want to make it at home with my parents!” Cooking activities can be fun and educational, and it gives students the opportunity to use their math and reading skills outside the classroom. In addition, they learn the importance of teamwork, effective communication skills and above all, they learn to try new foods.