Friday, May 1, 2009

Kids In The Marketplace

This weeks culinary class took place in the form of a field trip. Last week we had a speaker who is a local food critic, and friend of mine who came in and talked about her culinary journey through the job market. She also spoke about the Slow Food movement and its affects on our lives.

This weeks class- I take an afternoon and introduce them to a different type of market. First choice, The Amish Farmers Market in Newtown, PA. The life skills coach said she had been there and really enjoyed it. I would have preferred the open farmers markets that start later this month, but this will do. We will visit the one in Trenton when the time comes.

Each student before hand had to find a recipe that fit our nutritional qualifications and discussions; then decide if this market was suitable for their purchases. Most of the students have been to regular super markets, and frequent downtown convenient stores that already contain expensive and unhealthy food items.

Prices can be high or low in these types of mixed markets, depending on what it is you are looking for. Many of them this time of year do not always provide organic and natural choices. The students had to figure out if they had pre-planned enough to feed their family. Did their menu have key features like a protein, starch, and green vegetable? Was the cooking process something difficult, did they already have the experience, or were they willing to just try it? Were they comfortable with their choices?

Actually I was impressed. I felt each had listened well in class. During our one on one, and shopping process; they were on the right track. One student opted for 'no salt' ingredients, green vegetables, and others went for fruit as a side dish.

I also let each person take a photo. We talked about how important it is to see the food in an artistic way. To appreciate the beauty of what nature has to offer. How much effort goes into having a sustainable lifestyle like the Amish do. A few students took the camera and ran with it, well, they returned it to me.

After class was over it was time to grab a bite to eat. Off they went to make their choices, and one by one, they sat down with their plates of fried chicken fingers and french fries. Where were the vegetables? I decided we were all were kids once, and who can resist the smell of fried foods.

Only one of my students yesterday had a bottle of soda she had sneaked in her purse, so I took it as an opportunity to show them the chain of ingredients on the label, and the impact of sugar along with empty calories!

Hopefully I reach a few of these kids, and their choices over time will change for the better. I look forward to hearing and reading about their cooking experience at home. Next class we will be in the kitchen, and creating some dishes I will share with you...

My hubby returns this weekend with the lap top and photo shop, so I will be returning to my own food post in a few days...