It’s the first class of the year. Most of the kids are back since last years classes in the Fall, and i’ve had many kids come up to me in the hall before and after school asking me about cooking club, and getting excited to see it start back up again! Something that I regret not doing last term was a class in the beginning focusing on knife skills, so I wanted to make that a priority within the first few weeks back, to get those skills down and ready to be applied for the rest of the classes!
The reason I chose vegetable soup was more of an accident, which happened to work out perfectly because it was budget friendly, and it prioritized knife skills right off the bat! Due to the messiness of being myself, I had originally thought that my classes started the next week- instead of in two days… so… I had to improvise. We had a lot of donations of vegetables, and a large amount of soup broth that was leftover from another program. My coworker suggest that I use up everything we have in the centre to reduce our food waste, and give the kids the opportunity to practice their knife skills, so that’s exactly what I did! I present to you…. Vegetable Soup!!!!
I have to admit, I was nervous that the kids would hate me for choosing vegetable soup for the first day back!! The hype amongst the kids was real, and I didn’t want to disappoint them, but I was working with what I had, and additionally- kids need to learn how to incorporate vegetables into their pallet, so maybe if this were to turn out good, they’d leave with some positive associations attached to food? It was a long shot. But I went for it.
I made sure to cover the basics that i failed to cover the last semester because I was -what we call in the biz’- “winging it”. I went from barely cooking for myself, to teaching miniature humans how to use sharp dangerous tools that could potentially cut their little fingers off! So I made sure to go over knife safety first and foremost, and included instructions on how to safely wash the knives (aka, put them in a separate bucket away from the rest of the dishes for Chef Sam to clean).
The kids actually took kindly to the exercise, and appreciated the opportunity to work on their knife skills! Turns out – Kids like cutting stuff. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In both classes, we managed to get through both days without a single injury! (Knock on wood) !! Their favourite things to cut were carrots, and their least favourite things to cut were onions (obviously). I had previously cooked the broth ahead of time for simplicity and lack of time, but I included the recipe for all of them to take home incase they wanted to make the soup with their family. The kids cleaned up their stations and then left me with their desired chopped vegetables to add to the soup! I let the veggies cook for an hour, and then brought them in soup containers and left them at the school office for the kids to pick up after school. Week one – COMPLETE!