Monday, March 29, 2010

Lucy is Cooking Again!

As anyone who has followed this blog knows, Ethel and I know the way to a teenagers' heart is food! We cook a lot in the library, and always tie it to education--I mean, how can food NOT be educational! I thought I would share my most recent cooking exploits, so you can adapt this book-themed unit to your situation. I have a 45 minute flex bell (I have 15 seniors assigned to me, and my assistant Ethel, runs crazy open library), so I had to come up with ways to entertain, educate, and delight them each day. We have a reading day, a study day (I use the word study loosely), and so I try to teach them a little something on the other days--life skills! They wanted to know how to cook cheap, easy food at college, so I have started a weekly cooking lesson, that they will soon take ownership of--they each will bring a recipe and food to share each Friday! I only cook enough for each to have a taste--that way, I do not compete with the cafeteria. Our flex is also after lunch, and as I said, there is much education involved. And the super cool thing is that because Ethel is operating open library, the walk-in kids drift in and just watch what I am doing! That lets them see the librarian in a whole new educational and fun role.

My book tie-ins are Michael Pollan's, Food Rules and Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet. I also showed my students two videos that I streamed from the Internet: Jamie Oliver's talk on The Ted at and Jamie Oliver's first episode of Food Revolution at I also read them sections of Food Rules. For one cooking class I brought in my electric frying pan, hooked it up on the floor of the library, and stir-fried bok choy. I had purchased bags of already cooked brown Minute Rice which I cooked in the microwave in the back of the library for only 90 seconds! For the Bok Choy stir fry, I just put a bit of salt and olive oil in the pan, threw in the washed and chopped bok choy, and added soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Then I added chicken broth that had a little corn starch mixed in. Served over rice! Half of my class had never had bok choy, and everyone tried it! It was great.

The next cooking class I taught them to make a quick pasta--in the electric skillet. I pre-cooked the pasta in the skillet before they arrived (bow-ties), threw some edamame in with it for the last five minutes, and had it drained and ready. I then put olive oil, a big chopped elephant garlic, salt, pepper, and sauteed it all for a bit. Then I threw in the drained pasta and edamame, and one cup of reserved cooking water, and added parmesan cheese. They loved it--cheap, simple, and healthy. They also really were engaged in the two videos. I am hoping it helps them focus on healthy eating, saving money on food, and provides them with some life long skills--and all from their library!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful way to inspire healthy, delicious food at a young age! It is refreshing to see such an interactive approach to culinary education within arms reach of abundant reference material! Kudos!!