- Author: Rachael Narins
Students at Thomas Starr King Middle School in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, finish classes at 1:45pm on Tuesday afternoons. Since that is earlier than every other day of the week, there are lots of interesting clubs set up for kids whose parents can't pick them up until later. About 30 to 40, sixth and seventh graders elect to participate in the L.A.C.E.R. sponsored Garden Club.
Thanks to the efforts of Enrich LA, the beautiful garden at the center of this Title One campus has an outdoor kitchen, (Pots and Pans! Tools! Burners! Running Water! You should come check it out sime time.) allowing the happy group of diverse kids a way to cook up some of the amazing produce they grow. It’s a great way to introduce them to new, healthy foods (you should see these children devour kale. It’s heart warming and life-affirming) and an exciting way to teach them about food preservation. This school year we have made jam, pickles, more pickles, kale chips, yogurt and more (pickles).
This month, using cabbage, chiles, onion, green onion, turnips and radishes grown right there in their own organic garden, we mixed up a HUGE batch of kimchi; a fermented cabbage dish from Korea. The mixture was set aside for a week to meld and become tangy. When it was bubbling and ready - and we had another garden club meeting - the kids combined that with MORE ingredients from the garden, including lots of lettuce, peeled carrots, garlic cloves, bright green snap peas, grassy garlic chives, more chiles, red and white onions and flowering cilantro. That was added to some chilled broth, topped with glass noodles and the result was an INCREDIBLE, nutritious and super delicious cold soup. Two gallons of it were slurped up in about 15 minutes on a beautiful, sun dappled afternoon. Nothing could have been nicer.
They also saved a bit of the kimchi to enter in to the Good Food Day L.A. Cabbage Cooking Contest taking place next weekend. Here’s hoping the judges like what they made! ***UPDATE*** The kids kimchi came in second in the contest!!!!! (After an initial tie.) SO PROUD.
As a Master Food Preserver, I could not be more thrilled about this project. Over the course of this school year, I have been (lucky and) able to work with a smart, enthusiastic, cheerful community to grow, preserve and ultimately enjoy healthy dishes featuring preserved food made by many helpful hands. This is what I believe the Master Food Preserver program is about and I am proud to be a part of it.