Imagination is a cornerstone of early childhood development. Children are able to create alternative realities based on their knowledge of their current world. We see a child’s innate ability for imaginary play every day at the Children’s Museum in the garden, in the kitchen and in the indoor museum exhibits. We are a vehicle for imaginary play!
Last Saturday, third, fourth, and fifth graders joined us for a farm to table cooking experience. We used our imaginations to create a fantastic, seasonal soup. The classic story of Stone Soup guided us through our Kids Can Cook! program. The story of Stone Soup chronicles a group of hungry soldiers who enter a town. No one in the village is willing to give up any of their limited food supply. The soldiers convince the townspeople to help them by using a stone as the base of the soup and one by one townspeople offer items to the pot. In the end is a shared delicious meal. The soldiers challenged the townspeople’s fear of scarcity and helped them to recognize abundance and create a sense of community.
On the chalkboard, we listed 30+ ingredients including spices and items like cocoa, broccoli, beans, salt, and lentils as the starting point for our soup. As we went through the list, students voted on ingredients by standing when the item was read aloud. We used a 75% majority rule and gave the kids the power to veto any ingredient if they vehemently disliked it. Around 20 items were “okayed”. We had a lot to harvest, clean, chop, cook, and grind. Additionally, we made cornbread for the soup and hot chocolate to warm us up after harvesting on a chilly February day.
Students were given instruction on knife skills, turning on a gas stove, measuring, and tasting for flavor and texture. As a student added an ingredient, they went to the chalkboard and wrote the approximate measurement. Throughout the cooking process, students were able to analyze their ingredients; investigating the vegetables from the garden, the frozen items from the summer, the lentils and rice grown far away, and salt from the sea.
When the soup was finished everyone was tired and ready to sit and enjoy a delicious and creative community soup!
- 24 cups of water
- 4 cubes of bullion
- 1 large bunch kale (Red Russian and Lacinto)
- 4 sweet potatoes
- 1 small cabbage
- 10 small spring onions
- 1 large sprig rosemary
- 4 cups of green lentils
- 6 cups cooked rice
- 1 small bunch mustard greens
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 small bunch parsley
- 1 large bunch broccoli
- 4 stalks celery
- butter for sauteing vegetables
- Grated ginger
- Canned tomatoes
- Grated cheese
- Heat water and disperse bullion cubes
- Chop and wash all vegetables
- Saute vegetables
- Add vegetables, rice and lentils to water
- Add tomatoes to water
- Add herbs and spices to water
- Eat and smile!