Yesterday we had SO much fun sharing our approach to nutrition education with the USC School of Social Work. Thanks to Jason Lipeles for inviting us in with our bags full of veggies.
Occasionally we get an audience that's pretty food savvy already. We have a brief moment of fear - do we have anything to teach people who grew up on farms and whose parents taught them to cook? They may know already about local foods, or understand you get more nutrients from whole foods than you do from processed foods. STILL we always find, there's plenty of room to further expand their veggie preferences.
Several students had never grated beets (grating is one of our techniques for getting the nasty veggies to taste better - yes, tasty grated beets - no cooking required!). One student assured us she did not like tomatoes. We gave her a cherry tomato plain and it was true, her squinched up face confirmed she was not a fan. Then we handed her one with salt and she popped it in her mouth, "Yeah, it tastes better." She smiled. That's what we're aiming for - to help people have a BETTER experience with healthy food so they just may want to eat it more often!
A HUGE shout out to Farah El Khatib, who admits she has been VERY fortunate to have a mother who does all the cooking at home. So much so, that Farah had never (until yesterday) learned to cook. We started her off with onions (because she said she doesn't like the smell of onions.) "We don't either" we assured her, "that's why we're letting YOU cut them."
She sauteed (another of our techniques) the onions in a hot pan until they were caramelized (technique). Then we threw on some bell peppers and summer squash ("yellow stuff" as she called it). Farah single-handedly (save for the grating of cheese and slicing of tomatoes done by her classmates) made quesadillas for the rest of the class. Several of the crew commented, including our own newest staff member, Jasan Givens, that they didn't expect such simple quesadillas to taste so good.
Yeah, we don't mess around with our veggies at RootDown LA! You're gonna wanna eat 'em!