Cooking, Sharing And Passing It On For #FRD2013Wed 10 Apr 2013
Story by Mardi Michels
I am excited to be participating in Food Revolution Day for the second year running – as both a Food Revolution Ambassador for Toronto but also as the host of a public, hands-on cooking classes for children and their parents – “Cook it. Share it. Pass it on.” taking place at The Kitchen Studio. Following Jamie’s premise of “passing it on” the children will teach their parents how to cook a simple, from-scratch “real-food” meal and we’ll all sit down to enjoy together afterwards.
As an elementary school teacher (I teach French as a second language), every single day is about “passing it on” and for me, it doesn’t end when school finishes.
Over the past three years, I have been fortunate enough to work with my students (boys aged 7 – 12) in two after school cooking clubs - Les Petits Chefs and Cooking Basics where they have learned basic cooking and knife skills but also, all sorts of life skills (math and science, health and nutrition)!
In cooking club, the boys are not fazed by dishes that may appear difficult (sushi and molecular cuisine spring to mind here!) because they don’t have pre-conceived notions about the level of difficulty of a particular dish - they just tend to get on with it with a “can-do” attitude that somehow we as adults tend to lose over time. I couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved in the club over the past few years and every week the boys surprise me with their abilities. So many of their parents tell me “I didn’t know he could cook!” That statement got me thinking when I was planning last year’s Food Revolution Day activities… How could I get the boys to pass on what they are learning in cooking classes to their parents?
Last year in the week leading up to Food Revolution Day, I led a cooking class at school where 20 boys taught their parents how to make chicken tikka masala from scratch. Later that week, I worked with a smaller group of children and their parents in a public cooking class on Food Revolution Day itself. A definite highlight of both last year’s events was watching the children teach their parents how to prepare the meal. Lots of mums told me they learned a lot of “neat tricks” from their kids! Another highlight was the families sitting down to eat together. It’s something that doesn’t happen as often as it should, even when one has the best intentions. What I loved about these parent-child classes was that for those couple of hours, we were all immersed in the creation of the meal. Together. Completely focused. Seeing the mums and dads enjoying a meal with their kids and friends was so rewarding. For me, this is what the Food Revolution is all about. People connecting over food. People learning, sharing, getting back to the meaning of “real food” and having fun. So we’re doing it all over again for Food Revolution Day 2013!
How will you participate in FRD this year? You don’t have to host a huge event – remember, as Jamie said during the FRD Google+ hangout last year, it’s all about small changes, often, not huge changes infrequently. I know that from last year’s event, at least 3 of my students taught other family members how to make the dish we made together. A lot of the kids learned about new-to-them ingredients and discovered they liked them! Some of the kids still remember the technique for chopping onions I taught them during that class. Baby steps but steps in the right direction for sure.
What will you cook and share on Food Revolution Day 2013?
About the author: Mardi Michels is a full-time teacher of French at an independent boys’ school in Toronto. She blogs at eat. live. travel. write. She’s also a cook, baker, traveller, photographer, writer, Food Bloggers of Canada co-founder, Food Revolution Day Ambassador for Toronto and in her spare time teaches French pastry classes (focusing on macarons) around Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @eatlivtravwrite or @FoodRevToronto.
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