Elias & Jesus
Something hard in this class is doing things we’re not comfortable with, and one thing we are not at ease about is about cutting onions. The reason why we don’t like to cut onions its because they hurt and while we’re blinking and letting tears run down our faces we’re afraid of cutting ourselves. What we like about this class is they make us get over our fears and teach many handy skills so we don’t cut ourselves.
It was a warm school day. Third period. I had just got my popsicle stick pulled out of the plastic green cup. Crap! My turn to cut onions: the worst job in the whole program. I stepped outside, and right away I could feel the strongness of the onions. I sat down and starting cutting. My eyes starting hurting more, and I accidentally cut my finger and it started to bleed. I had to get a band-aid but what I like to remember about this story is that I finished the job.
The best/most annoying/most nerve-racking experience I’ve had in Growing Leaders so far is probably when we sold chile in November. It was pouring rain, which was extremely awesome, even though the (absolutely positively beautiful) sign Fae and I put outside ended up being destroyed. At one point, everyone got extremely worried because we thought we had miscounted and were short of *literally* everything we packed out, and on top of that, we forgot to put sugar in every batch of cornbread that we made (which didn’t actually taste that bad when it was eaten with the chile). And to top everything off, the meal was at the same time as the culture fair, so I had to periodically run all the way across the school’s campus (in the pouring rain, mind you), and make an appearance at the fair so I would get credit, and run back to the school kitchen (still in the pouring rain) to sell meals again. But in spite of all of the hassle, it was a pretty fun experience overall to run around in the kitchen selling meals to everyone, including my gardening teacher from elementary school, Rivka.
This class has stood out because it is a different kind of learning experience. It teaches us business, culinary, and agricultural skills that are helpful in and outside of school and well beyond Willard. We spend at least 30 minutes a day either in the Willard garden or kitchen. In the garden we plant and harvest crops for our locally grown, locally sold meals. We also make compost, plant cover crops, and make sure our garden is well cared for. In the Willard kitchen, we strengthen our culinary skills and prepare the vegetables grown in the willard garden.
One thing that particularly stood out to me was the day we played iron chef. We were given some ingredients and one hour to make a meal. We were not given any help and had to rely on what we knew. Every group had to make a main dish and side dish or dessert without a recipe. From homemade pasta to frittatas, we all made dishes as groups. At the end of the class, no one felt there were any losers or winners. We all worked well together and asked for other people’s opinions before we made any decision no matter if it was to add another clove of garlic or put the bread in the oven. The whole game taught us the importance of teamwork. This class is an escape from the average classroom and days like this make school better.
We are still working on getting some blog posts up! Until that time, enjoy a past post about one of our favorite activities from last year, our Iron Chef competition!
April 30, 2014
The students wait in their groups for the secret ingredient to be revealed. With a flourish, the cloth is pulled away from the platter and underneath are...strawberries!
This is 7th/8th grade Leadership's Iron Chef competition. Each group will make a main dish and a dessert, with one plate for the judges and another plate for their competitors to try. The teams will be judged on the following criteria:
The girls were given a list of available ingredients prior to class and were free to prepare as much or as little as they wanted. Immediately, Makiyah at Table 2 pulls out a recipe for sugar cookies, to which they plan on adding strawberries. They immediately start making the cookies, knowing that they'll have to bake. With mac n' cheese, a kale and strawberry salad, and cheesy roasted broccoli, Table 2 isn't fooling around!
Table 1 has ambitious plans, making cookies and cutting them into stars and flowers, and using the tortilla press to make fresh tortillas to go with their curried black eyed peas and collards filling. They also have plans for a smoothie beverage to accompany their meal.
Table 3 gets full points for creativity. They turn their fruit into an elaborate fruit platter. They also invented an apple cake with cinnamon, and cooked some greens and a simple pasta for the main.
All three tables' dishes turn out beautifully, and the scores are incredibly close. In the end though, it is Table 2 that claims the victory, for exceeding across the board in all the categories.
Until Next Time!
The Willard Cooking and Gardening Program