The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Parents Night Feed

December 5th, 2009 · No Comments · Posted in Ethnic, kids

Everyone eats their fill at the parents night dinner

Everyone eats their fill at the parents night dinner

What do you suppose was the most popular menu item on last night’s parents night dinner at the elementary school where I teach my food appreciation classes?

If you said Brazilian cheese breads, you would be absolutely correct. There’s a good reason Brazilians go nuts for this little snack made of manioc flour and cheese. They are irresistible. Everyone wanted seconds (or thirds) but we really only intended one per person. Sorry folks! You’ll have to settle for the African yam with okra and greens.

We do this dinner every semester, giving parents a chance to sample what their kids have been making in school. We had a good turnout last night–about 70 people, including parents and kids, plus the staff from the after-school program, who helped dish out the food and man the beverage station.

The event gets better and better. Last night we had big banners hanging on the walls, plus colorful table coverings decorated by the kids, lovely center pieces made from empty soda bottles and lamanated menus.

We started with Brazilian fish stew with coconut milk, one of our new favorite seafood dishes, served in clear plastic low-ball glasses. We then passed the cheese puffs. The entree took us across the Atlantic to West Africa, where we dished up the Senagalese black-eyed pea salad we made in class a few weeks ago, along with the aforementioned yams with okra and greens. Already on the table was the most intriguing eggplant dip with tomato and peanut butter. For dessert we passed plates of rice flour banana bread.

As I explained to the parents, there is nothing tricky about this food, just fresh, wholesome ingredients simply prepared. These probably are not dishes you would normally think to prepare, but they expose children to different flavors, different cultures, and in a classroom setting kids are more apt to try things they might reject at home.

Parents tell me it makes a difference. Some of them are making these recipes at home and finding their kids more open to eating their vegetables. I count that as a success.

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