“Wow, this tastes good, I didn’t know healthy food tasted so good!” was one student’s realization after eating the vegetable enchiladas made in the after-school cooking program in Ms. Kravitz’ home and family life classroom. Last year Cleveland High schoolers met Wednesdays and Thursdays at this fully equipped classroom and converted it in to a food lab. Students in the program whipped up everything from lumpia to quesadillas, all with a Northwest twist on flavor. So what does that translate to? A whole lot of kale and potatoes creatively transformed into delicious meals; squashing any doubt that students may have had about vegetables or eating “healthy”.
Along with laughter and side conversations the rhythmic sound of chopping and mincing could be heard while these young people learned one of the most basic skills to keep them healthy; how to cook a meal from scratch. Not only were they developing cooking skills, there was also an incredible exchange of food cultures reflecting the diversity of SE Seattle.
Controlled chaos in the kitchen creates a natural need for positive communication and team building which will be great assets to these young adults on the verge of entering the work force and contributing as community and global citizens.
These cooking clubs are starting to pop up all over Seattle, for good reason! Students love to eat and learning to cook helps them eat foods that are good for them, delicious, and affordable. The cooking program has been successful through multiple partnerships, including Seattle Tilth, the YMCA, and Public Health, with each playing an essential role in making the club happen. The plan is to continue the program in the fall and form more partnerships with other after school clubs to give students the opportunity to showcase their skills and cook for school events. Food is the heart of social gatherings so let’s eat up and empower our young people!
Visit here to learn more about the summer food system justice boot camp!