At Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School, Josh and I teach gardening and cooking classes to kids ages 6 – 13 years of age four days a week. This week is cooking! Harvesting, chopping, and sautéing with the kids to make farm to a table a reality. Tomatoes for salsa with the 1st and 2nd graders, cucumbers for pickles with the 4th and 5th graders, and basil for pesto with the primary school.
Bringing six and seven year olds into a kitchen was a daunting challenge to keep them constantly entertained and engaged in the cooking process. Each student had a job to contribute to the final project. Madison crushed garlic, Josiah and Joseph cut Parmesan cheese into cubes, and Khalil chopped basil. Excitement grew about the possibility of green pasta, which only before existed in a Dr. Seuss fantasy.
Each student took their turn pouring ingredients into the food processor and helping with the most exciting of tasks: pressing the ON button. Tiny fingers pushed each other out of the way as soon as I gave the OK. Turns needed to be taken, and eventually the basil, garlic, cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper became pesto. They each took a whiff, letting the garlic tingle their nostrils.
The noodles were cooked and the pesto was made, so each student once again took a turn stirring the sauce into the pasta (another exciting job). Then it was time to snack!