Gardeners of all grades in class this week treated themselves to fresh garden grindz. There is something about growing your own food that makes even the most squeemish child ripe for experimentation. Garden Agreement #3 states that students operate in nature "with an open mind." I convienently translate open mindedness as being willing to taste what you grow; and class demonstrates that even a lick or the smallest nibble of fill-in-the-blank-freshly-harvested-from-the-garden opens a child's pallet to a whole meal.
This week we experimented with foriegn greens; spinach masked in basil "green noodles," or noodles swimming in pesto. I haul out the blender, bowls and spoons, mini-table, compostable cups, cooler filled with ingredients. I pre-make noodles. I ask children to harvest basil and spinach. After a thorough hose hand washing, we pick leaves off basil stems and add salt, parmasean cheese, olive oil, garlic, and mac nuts. Kids get to press blender buttons to whip up green noodles their hands helped grow, harvest, and prepare. Kids serve other kids and never fail to ask if they can take some back to their home room teachers.
Student feedback on green noodles ranged from a sixth-grade girl who noted, "That wasn't hard at all and I love it" to a first-grade boy who swore, "I think I'm growing" after just one bite. Many noted the taste was "spicy;" a term I think refered to the raw garlic and pungent basil overtones, as they shoveled in more bites. I say "shoveled" on purpose because we ate "bush style" with clean hands, noodles in cups, and no forks. After all, "reduce" is part of the Three R's.
Seventh and eighth graders had the tough responsibility of trying out a new school recipe; Homemade Vanilla and Lemongrass Ice Cream. The recipe directed cooks to put ice cream ingredients in a container inside of a bigger container packed with rock salt and ice, then roll the container to whip the cream. Instructions said to wrap the inside container with duct tape to prevent leakage. What is the point of reusing containers and reducing energy dependence by employing au natural kinetic energy just to enshrowd a container in duct tape (a strong adhesive, sure, but non-biodegradable and living into perpetuity after just one use)? So, students were given the "Keep it Closed" Challenge, some reusable rubber bands and hemp string reclaimed from an old bean trellis. They created leak-tight containers in five minutes flat.
Gardeners started rolling their ice cream. Students with the container completely surrounded in hemp string tied the end string to the teather ball pole and started swinging. The other group followed recipe directions and rolled their container on the grass. We discovered that ice cream whipped with the kinetic energy trapped in a few gentle rounds of teather ball is just as awesome as the foot-rolled one.
Gardeners flipped over their end result. Creamy, cold, delicately lemony, delicious, made with their own hands; Jr. High mahi'ai (food growers) pert near glazed over with their first slurp of lemongrass and vanilla ice cream. They dubbed it the next Wonder Garden tradition, worthy of weekly indulgence.
Krista Joan says:
My mission is to teach, train, and testify in resistance to the white supremacy of my ancestors. My personal choices are political, powerful, and practical. Let's trash waste.