Friday, November 14, 2008

Quality Time in the Kitchen

During the last week of October, Operation Frontline DC started its first ever satellite series with the Bridges Program of Guilford Elementary School. Guilford is located in Howard County, a region not typically served by the Capital Area Food Bank. However, when I joined a meeting formed by a group of enthusiastic and dedicated collaborative entities, my decision to expand the program was easy.

Kris Woodson, the site coordinator, is fabulous and full of energy. She not only found the volunteers to teach the program, she also received a grant to purchase all the food for the course. Our volunteers include: Angel Marchman, a personal chef who owns Thyme Savory; Anna Arrowsmith, a dietitian for Maryland’s Department of Education; and Jennifer Mayer, a community health advocate for Priority Partners. As you can see, the expertise provided by these volunteers is making a huge impact on the participants.

Now, I’m sure you are wondering about the classes! We decided to go with the Side by Side curriculum to promote quality kitchen time between parents and their children. We have seven groups, and I’m thrilled to say that the graduation rate is going to be close to 100%.

If there is any surefire way to get kids to eat new foods, it’s having them participate in the meal-making process. Angel has some great tips for kids in the kitchen. Purchase a lettuce knife, so children can help prepare produce. Use a pizza cutter for cutting fresh herbs. Allow kids to do the mixing, pouring and measuring. You might even get them to help with the dishes-quality time with parents means a lot to kids. Most importantly, be patient and enthusiastic about spending time with your children.

Over the course, we have made two-bean chili, eggplant Parmesan, scalloped cauliflower and mushrooms, smoothies, pineapple salsa and hummus. To get into the holiday spirit, we are going to combine our nutrition lesson about breakfast with the recipe next week. Our menu includes pumpkin pancakes with a homemade apple syrup. We talked about pumpkin muffins as an alternative, but those just seemed too typical. These kids want the challenge of creating something adventurous!

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