"I Don't Like……."

Harvest for our broccoli soup
Our 'yucky' produce from the garden for our broccoli soup
So your kids say ‘I don’t like broccoli’? Well they certainly wouldn’t be the first. In fact I heard it quite a bit just this week at school. We had a lot of broccoli growing (or bolting actually) in our school veggie garden so I thought it was time we harvested and used it in the kitchen. I wasn’t sure what exactly I could use it for considering I was working with 50 preps and 50 year 1 and 2s over the course of the day so I asked my wonderful facebook followers for some ideas. Many people offered some fantastic suggestions and I decided to go with a herb dip for the preps to dip broccoli pieces into and a broccoli, potato and silverbeet soup for the year 1 and 2s.
Cheesy herb dip for children
Kids love preparing and eating food they've grown themselves
The students were very excited to be taking part in a cooking lesson. This was the first time I had undertaken a lesson in the kitchen with the junior grades and I must admit I was a little excited (and a tad nervous) too. They all had a wonderful time harvesting the produce from the garden, smelling the freshly picked herbs, mixing together the ingredients and eating what they had prepared. Yes, you heard right, they ALL enjoyed eating what they had prepared. I have seen time and time again children who are incredibly fussy eaters try vegies from our garden simply because they helped grow them, harvest them and cook them themselves.
Every time we cook at school I split each grade into two teams – the Junior Masterchefs and the My Kitchen Rules teams. We discuss how chefs critique food and how you never hear a chef on television say something is ‘yucky’. The chefs may not like everything they eat but they will always give a reason why – ‘it is too salty’ or ‘it is too creamy’ for example. We then talk about ways to describe the flavour and texture of food and how to give it a rating out of 10. This really encourages the children to think about their food and the experience of eating it rather than instantly disliking it simply because it involves vegetables. By doing this, the students at school have stopped saying ‘I don’t like it’ and now say things such as  ‘I think it needs more flavour’ or ‘I think it has a little too much cheese’. For those who like to say ‘yummy’ we encourage them to say why they think so, for example ‘I really like the way the broccoli is crunchy’.
So if you have a fussy eater at home get them growing, preparing and critiquing their own veggies. It is likely that they will become more adventurous with what they eat and it will also help develop their analytical skills.
Happy Gardening!
PS. Stay tuned for the fabulous broccoli inspired recipes