Fifth graders from the Eliot School spent the past semester in the Seasonal Cooking and Eating Program – a culinary, curriculum-based program The Trustees has been piloting in the KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market.
The pilot program, launched by Program Director Lieza Dagher and sponsored by the Reebok Foundation, includes four immersive half-day visits by the students to The KITCHEN throughout the school year, to learn about cooking, healthy eating, and where their food comes from.
On their first visit last September, the students learned about tomatoes and apples directly from the farmers who grew them, made cheese ravioli, tomato sauce, and caramel apples—all from scratch—and then enjoyed their meal together and shared their cooking adventures with their classroom friends.
They also shared details about food narratives they had written in advance as conversation during their meal. One of the Eliot School teachers said of the first session, “The kids had such a great time, and many of them came back to school saying how they were going to try making their own pasta at home.”
During their second visit in November, the students celebrated ingredients from the fall season by making BBQ cranberry sauce with roasted chicken, potato gratin, honeynut squash pudding, and apple pie. They were delighted with the skills they learned and left better equipped to accomplish their next homework assignment: developing a recipe that is important to their families over the holiday season.
The kids came again last month, and coming up, there is a field trip planned at Appleton Farms in Ipswich this April where the kids will learn more about how local food is produced. They have a beef, dairy, and produce operation on the farm, which is the oldest farm in continuous operation in North America!
The last session will be held in June, with intermittent visits to their classrooms from The KITCHEN team throughout the year. Trustees’ KITCHEN staff members worked together with Lieza and the Eliot teachers to build out the curriculum, which includes tie-ins to ongoing school subjects such as science and expository writing.
The program wraps up in June and has been a wonderful pilot that The Trustees hopes to expand to five schools next year, pending funding, to help more kids better understand where their food comes from, make important connections between healthy and local ingredients and local farms, and to develop a lifelong skill that not only creates a sense of accomplishment and brings families together, but inspires self-confidence.