A food and nutrition writer who believes that tasty food and good health shouldn't be mutually exclusive.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Lessons in life from little people
Most of my life, I’ve been harboring under the assumption that all children are basically mini adults – quiet, rational, practical little things that just haven’t grown quite tall enough yet.We’re introducing kids cooking classes at James Street, which meant this week I got to spend an afternoon with our head chef John and a bunch of 4-6 year olds in a trial class, teaching them how to make rice paper rolls. I think I might have actually learnt more than any of them in our couple of hours together.
Thinking back to primary school, we utilized the ‘hands up’ move to get their attention – which worked, for about 10 seconds. That was lesson number one – you have to work for their attention. In a room of full of young child wonders, unless you are holding a delicious treat or a shiny DS console or have an extremely loud voice, you are going to have get creative in order to hold their attention. Or bribe them with fresh strawberries.
Some of our trial victims were a little younger than our usual class participants and rolling the rice paper rolls was a bit of a challenge. This was lesson number two - they are smart. You can’t get anything past 6 sets of eager eyes watching your every move. They will question you and won’t be afraid to tell you if they think you’re wrong. They know you’re trying to fix their rice paper creation even if you tell them you’re just ‘moving it over here’. They’ll also be pretty quick to tell you your singing is pretty terrible.
Lesson number three - they know what they like, and they definitely know what they don’t like. They know that natural yoghurt is not ‘just like cream’ but they might just be more willing to try it if you grate some chocolate over the top.It’s great to get them involved in making the food– even if they claim not to like a core ingredient, once they’ve invested effort into making a dish, there’s no way they’re not going to try the end result – even if it does have vegetables.
Be prepared - lesson four – the energizer bunny ain’t got nothing on them. Even if I had four consecutive shots of espresso and a bag of red snakes, I’m fairly confident these kids would still have more energy than me. If there was some way of harnessing their combined energy, we’d have the ultimate green energy source and enough power for all the lights in Brisbane.
The final lesson of the day was be prepared to get a little messy.I’ve always consider myself quite skilled at making mess in the kitchen, but these guys are pros. When rolling pastry, it seems essential that the amount of flour on the bench is in direct proportion to the amount of flour on your face. At the end of the day if you haven’t made a mess, you haven’t worked hard enough.
***Originally published by the Courier Mail, 14 Sept 2010