Two band aids were given out today. The first one was for my daughter, who decided it would be fun to pick a scab. The second band aid was given out for a scrape on another girl. Why is this so important you ask? Because today, we used knives. Yes, real knives. Kitchen knives to be specific. They were only paring knives, so they were small- just the right size for little Daisy hands. And no, I am not crazy.
Last week began our set up for this week, when we began work on the Global Action badge. Now, according to the Global Action badge description, for the Daisies, it says that you only have to complete one activity relating to the Millennium Development Goals, BUT, you can do more than one (which we will be doing). Today we touched on ending hunger and poverty and disease prevention. We knew that we would have extras, so we invited friends and family to enjoy our snack. This also helped us touch on empowering girls, which we will get more into next week.
The most important part of today was explaining the rules of the kitchen. It was also a little interactive for us. The rules of the kitchen are:
1. No running or playing in the kitchen
2. Always wash your hands before starting
3. Hair needs to be tied up and out of the way
4. Make sure all surfaces you will be working on and everything you will be using (equipment, produce) is clean before starting
5. Before beginning, make sure you have all of your supplies (food and equipment)
6. Before starting work, make sure that all electrical equipment is working properly
7. Never use a dull knife
8. If a knife needs to be sharpened, ask an adult
9. When using a pan on the stove, make sure to keep the handle out of the way, over the counter or stove
10. Always use a hot pad or mitt when handling a hot pot or pan. Do not use a towel
11. Never leave a hot pot unattended
12. If there is a fire, put it out with a fire extinguisher. Do not try and use another liquid
13. If you must leave a knife on a cutting board, leave it in the middle of the cutting board, with the blade pointing away from you
14. Clean as you go
15. Leave your space cleaner than you found it
We took a break for a special presentation. Two scouts from an older troop came in to give the girls a little environmental lesson. They got to pick some trash and make some rain makers using recycled materials. It was a perfect way to finish off using resources wisely. Plus, they did an amazing job, and the girls had loads of fun.
Back to the cutting boards! The girls got to cut up green onions, cashews and a lime. Due to time constraints, my awesome Co and I took care of the carrots, cilantro, avocado and cucumber. One scout had a bad habit of cutting with the knife blade facing up. Another was so petrified that she would get in trouble for even touching a knife! It was a great lesson for them though. Not many parents are like me, so many kids don't learn to use a kitchen knife until they are much older. The key is making sure they know to be careful, pay attention, and not to play around.
As for our sauce, I was unable to find tamarinds (everyone says they are not yet in season, but they are. My guess is that they haven't made their way to this country yet), so we had to use a substitute. We used lime juice and brown sugar. It didn't taste quite the same, but was close enough. My Co and I tested out the recipe the day before, just to make sure it was fine. It was a huge hit with everyone!
Spring Rolls, Sauce Recipe
1 T lime juice
½ T brown sugar
1 T soy sauce
3 T honey
1 T mirin
1 T sesame oil
¼ t Tiger sauce
1 t turmeric
½ T chopped cilantro
2 T chopped cashews
2 stalks, green onion, chopped
1. Chop the green onions
2. Chop cashews
3. Chop cilantro
4. Juice a lime (if using a whole lime)
5. Mix ingredients in the order they are listed. Stir before you add the next ingredient
6. Use sauce for dipping, or pour over something, like a spring roll
Yes, the recipe might seem very literal, but remember that we gave this to a group of five and six year olds, so it had to be. We also explained the difference between T (tablespoon) and t (teaspoon). I grabbed one set of my measuring spoons that made this easier for them. The spring whisk threw them for a loop though, but it also opened them up to something new and different. The pink, sparkly spatula was a huge hit though.
For the spring rolls, we wrapped water chestnuts, bean sprouts, carrots, avocado, green onions, cashews, udon and marinated cucumbers (sliced cucumbers marinated in a little mirin, lemon juice and sesame oil) in bib lettuce. We held them in place with a toothpick. For those that wanted it, we put some of the sauce on them too. Overall though, it was a huge hit. AND, the best part, EVERYONE ATE THEM!!!! As we introduced certain ingredients, we made them try them too (I knew that none of them had any allergies, so they had no excuses!). We also emphasized that some things might look weird, but they tasted great. The udon was one of those "weird" things, but after trying it, they realized it was just fancy Asian noodles.
We had leftovers, and did not want to waste it. Everyone was sent home with something. We split up the rest of the carrots from the bunch, and gave out the cashews and green onions. We had no leftover sauce though. That stuff was a BIG hit. From there, we obeyed the final rule on the list and cleaned up everything, and returned everything to the way we found it, but left better than we found it!
So, the lesson learned here is yes, you can totally teach young kids how to use a kitchen knife, as long as you are careful and patient about it. And you can let the kids in the kitchen, but they need boundaries, rules, and then need to adhere to them at all times. I fully intend to take this lesson and expand upon it every year. Next year, I'm thinking we can bust out the mixer and make whipped cream, or the ice cream maker to make ice cream or frozen yogurt. Then as Brownies, we can perhaps step up to scrambled eggs and fritatas, and cakes or brownies as Juniors. But, the biggest thing out of today was opening them up to new foods and realizing the importance of not wasting food.