This post was written by our Food Education Intern, Luca Vigorelli on his account of observing one of our cooking classes for 3, 4 and 5 year olds:

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Today was a fun day in cooking class. We had a class of 7 students and we made banana pudding and poached pears!

The students were all excited to try this fun recipe, as our star teacher began to tell them what we were making, each face lit up with excitement as they threw their hands up in joy, exclaiming “banana pudding yay!” The funny thing is, most of the kids had never tried banana pudding, which I realized by asking, “so has anyone tried banana pudding before?” Most of them responding, “no, I don’t think so.” I think the two words separately, banana and pudding, were enough to grab the little ones’ attention!

Our focus in this class was on the fruit – banana – as we talked about its benefits to our bodies and how it gives us an important mineral, potassium. It’s always sweet to hear what each child has to say about the fruit or vegetable, but in this particular class, one girl darted her hand up. She continued to tell us, that bananas give us “lots of energy” and that she “quite likes to eat bananas at home.”

Our budding chefs were all still sitting and patiently listening to their teacher as she explained the next steps. I went back over to help out a few students who asked for some help with mashing their pudding. Now finished with the banana pudding, the students were ready for the next part, the poached pears!

1215446928_56b0abfcb1_zThe students chopped the pears into halves, adding them to the boiling water along with spices. They did not seem too excited, with kind of a “its just a pear” look on their faces. But what happened after was a different story. When the pears were done, each received a half on their plate. It was a bit steamy and hot, but they blew off the steam and began tasting. Their eyes lit up, and they exclaimed “I really like this!” It was a rare and special moment to witness the students at peace with the task at hand, and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Of course, that didn’t last long. Their curious and talkative minds got back on a roll and they were ready to share everything with their caregivers and parents who had just walked through the door. Several students had saved their poached pears for their parents to try, excited to bring home their delicious creations.

Photos courtesy of Charles Roffey and Jessica Merz