I had the recent pleasure of hosting a kale tasting with 2, 3, and 4 year olds at a wonderful daycare that we provide lunch service to.
I purposefully chose a specific day of the week based on the meal that we were serving, with the goal of encouraging the students to expand their ever-growing palates. Kale was being served, so I chose that day!
Starting with a group of 2 year olds, I sat down with them at their lunch table and walked them through the journey of how kale grows from the ground up. We then learned about the different vitamins present in kale and how they benefit our bodies. While much of what I was saying didn’t seem to resonate with them, I knew that once we started tasting they would get much more excited!
The tasting consisted of sample cups filled with kale chips, sautéed kale (that was on the lunch menu), and raw kale. I brought in some dinosaur kale for them to try, and we pondered why it was called that! One student even said that it looked like cabbage!
The 2s all liked the chips better, but overall weren’t super enthused about kale.
Working with the 3s and 4s was a very different experience. They all knew what kale was, and even boasted their gardening expertise amongst their group, especially when it came to kale. They shared stories of how their parents put kale in their smoothies, and how they love working in the garden.
After sharing with them the journey of kale from seed to plate, and why it’s good for our bodies, we went on to taste the kale as “food scientists.” Their eyes lit up – “scientists?!” yay!
We first tasted the chips, which students exclaimed was “crinkly,” “crispy,” and my all time favorite “bumpity.” One student even said that it tasted like seaweed.
After tasting the sautéed kale, some said it was “juicy” and “watery.” Then we tasted the raw kale, which not many students liked and reflected on it with words like “bumpy” and “sour.”
Not one of the students didn’t try the kale, since they were all trying it as a team, and even more so as “food scientists” – tasting the kale was a no-brainer for this group.
After telling them that I thought they were brave, they all smiled (with kale in their teeth) and thanked me for coming in to visit. I left them with a fun kale coloring page for them to get creative with.
It was an inspiring way to spend the afternoon, and look forward to hosting more tastings in the future!
Written by Flora McKay, Director of Community & Nutrition