Yesterday we had a great visit to PS 180 Hugo Newman College Preparatory School. Â The Marcus Samuelsson Group adopted the school through the Chefs Move to Schools Initiative. We were very excited to get involved with their 6th grade cooking class for an event that we planned with PTA president, which was the first event of many to come. The kids walked in to find a slice of honey butter-coated cornbread on their seat, which they nibbled on while we discussed food groups, our diverse food histories, and foods in season.
I particularly enjoyed talking about the five tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. Â I only learned about umami, the savory taste, recently. Â Umami roughly translates to "delicious taste," and it's considered the fifth flavor, and it was fun to teach them about this recently acknowledged flavor from Japan.
The main event was a demonstration of making the meatballs. Â One intrepid student helped me make the meatballs, and together we showed the class how you have to really dig your hands in and mix all the seasoning and meat together. Â Then we cooked a few meatballs on the stove, but just to make sure, we had a tray of them ready for all the kids to eat.
In addition to meatballs, we brought collard greens, and pureed yams for the kids to try, and we topped the plates off with traditional lingonberries and pickled cucumbers.
I loved being in the Home Ec classroom, which was painted with murals of pots, tomatoes, and a chef eating spaghetti. Eating and cooking with the kids was really a special occasion, I loved getting to share our mutual passion for food.