Monday, September 10, 2018

Chef's Tasting Table 2019 | A Tomato Tasting with Prairie Wind Family Farm

Now that's a lot of 2nd's and 3rd's boys! Way to EAT those tomatoes!!

Welcome to the 2019 Chef's Tasting Table School Year with Diamond Lake School District 76!

I am just thrilled to be writing this post, as it's my third year in the lunch room with the D76 students and staff. I am simply amazed by our evolution in food education together.

3 years ago:

  • Most of the 8th grade students chose not to eat "lunch". Many tables would share candy and/or other processed snacks (like Takis Chips) brought from home. Very few participated in the school lunch program with Preferred Meals.
  • The majority of 7th and 8th graders were very hesitant or declined to try the foods at our tastings. 
  • It helped to "hide" the ingredients of a tasting table menu item as it helped students be more adventurous. Once I revealed the ingredients (like spinach!), they were more willing to try an unfamiliar or "weird" food the next time.
  • The majority of the 5th and 6th graders were always up for a tasting. They were enthusiastic and excited every month.

  • Virtually EVERY student in EVERY lunchroom (5th-8th) eats lunch whether it's a sack lunch from home or served from Preferred Meals.
  • The majority of EVERY lunchroom participates in the tasting. And I don't even have to hide the ingredients anymore to get kids to try what I'm serving up!
  • All grade levels exhibit enthusiasm for our Chef's Tasting Tables. WOW!
HUGE thank you's to Jennifer and Jeff Miller of Prairie Wind Family Farm for providing the beautiful and TASTY tomatoes for our very first tomato tasting. The kids asked for seconds and thirds more than every before. I simply love coming to the farm, talking to your staff, and picking up your organic produce (just 9 miles away from West Oak School)!

Each student received a boat of tomatoes that were sliced and prepared three ways:
  • Plain
  • Sprinkled with sea salt
  • Sprinkled with organic sugar
Why the three options? To begin sharing the experience of how seasoning can effect taste with the students. 
  • Why is tomato sauce and pizza sauce sometimes sweeter than eating a raw tomato? Well, the chef adds some sweetener to cut the acidity! 
  • Can you believe how a little salt brings out more flavor? 
  • Isn't it amazing how naturally sweet a grape tomato is all by itself!?
I was joined by a friend and fellow graduate from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, Ms Erika Quezada-Sanchez of Lotus Life and Wellness. I am so grateful to be connected to her through our Mind Body Nutrition training and especially appreciative of her volunteering with me in the lunchroom! Thank you for sharing this awesome day with me and the students Erika, and I can't wait for you to join us again and spread more fun food education together!

More Guts More Glory - It all starts at hOMe plate!

To the Mullies we go...