The Days of Taste/Hexter Elementary day down at the Farmer's Market Resource Center was a huge success. Volunteer forces from the Baylor Hospital nutritional team showed up in force, some had done this gig before - others were new. But every one of us left with smiles, mine lasted even after I got home and saw what the dogs had eaten in my absence.
I was assigned to a group of five 4th graders and teamed with a great Hexter mom, it turned out we had some things in common. Her daughter was on Math team with the same coach my kids had at Kramer, she helped with book fair like I did back in the day - making new friends was like a whipped cream topping to the day.
But the kids, boy, they were sharp and well behaved. And curious. They listened patiently to Meaders Orazow talk about making bread. How the yeast works, different flavors of bread, and of course they loved it when they got to sample the sourdough, wheat and rye breads she brought to share. Then chef Tina Wasserman took them on an exploration of flavors; salt, sugar, citric acid and cocoa (salty, sweet, sour and bitter) and they had "tasters" of cheese, chocolate, pickles, rosemary on a plate for them to try individually and in combinations.
We were the Green Pepper team, and headed out to the market - each child received $1 to purchase their vegetable(s) of choice. Many of the vendors were kind enough to split baskets, or let kids buy only one of something. By the end, we had: corn, cucumber, banana pepper, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, strawberries, apple, watermelon slices (a very nice man let us have some "samples" which we threw in a bag), banana.
Returning to the resource center, the staff washed the veggies while the kids washed their hands, then the chopping and trading began. One group wanted some of our corn, which we traded for half a red pepper, another group traded a few strawberries for an orange, and I don't remember what we traded for some brussels sprouts and carrots. IJS, one of the boys, "Mr. J" showed amazing trading skills, we would send him off with half of something and he'd come back with something else.
While I chopped, "Miss A." helped her mom with the dressing. Buttermilk mixed with mayonnaise (which all the kids thought looked gross), and each one got to add an element - garlic, pepper, cayenne, until we had......Buttermilk Ranch dressing, which they thought was very cool. Everyone had a part in making a pasta and veggie salad which was devoured, the fruit salad was for dessert and we had enough to share with others.
"Big D" said it was the best he ever had as he gave me a gigantic hug on his way out. My smile's still there, I hope his is too.