Cooking winter squash in the classroom- part 2

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On Friday, I cooked with a 2nd grade class (my son’s old teacher who we love), and my son’s third grade class.  For the 2nd grade class, we made the same butternut squash as with previous classes but the third grade class made three sisters stew.

The butternut squash went off without a hitch.  The kids enjoyed helping by washing the squash.  I worked at a the teacher’s table, off to the side of the room, and the children would come by and check out the progress as I peeled, cut, mixed, and poured into the pan.  They waited with anticipation, more than any of the other classes had previously.  I think they also just liked being a part of the new activity.

There was some extra acorn squash, so I decided to cut them up as well, and cook them in the cafeteria.  The small oven cooked the butternut cubes.  The small oven was finished just as the children were leaving to lunch.  Some of the girls came by to get a taste before heading out the door. They liked it, and asked for more.

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The third grade class came next.  I arrived a few minutes before the class was to begin, with time to set up an extension cord for the burner and stock pot.  We would be cooking outside, as the new fire alarm system is very sensitive and any cooking sets off the alarm.  I pulled out all the cans and jars, cutting board, knife, and vegetables, setting them out on the the table.  The kids returned from recess and we gathered around the rug to talk about the three sister’s story.

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I told them about the history and why the three plants (corn, beans, squash) are grown together.  We could go see in our garden, right outside their classroom door, how the vines climb and how the squash’s spiky leaves protect.

The kids were excited to get started right away.  I cut the onion and peeled the squash, while they peeled garlic, picked out seeds, and opened cans.  I was a little nervous at first, with all their enthusiasm to help, an extension cord connected to a hot burner running along the ground, a knife, and sharp metal can lids being opened.  But them seemed to handle the activity maturely and carefully.

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Once all the ingredients were added to the pot, we covered it and waited.  We went over the the garden beds to check on the progress of our plants and see the vines and squash.  They really made the connection to the story once they saw how the vines wrap around things for support and why an animal would not want to poke it’s face into a squash plant.

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The stew was almost done.  It just needed some fresh cilantro, which we had growing.  Each child picked a leaf and washed it, preparing it for the stew. Adding the cilantro, the stew was ready to eat!  We served it with tortillas and it was delicious.  Everybody tried it!  And almost everyone liked it.  I thought it was so good, I would make it again for dinner.

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Categories: nutrition

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One Comment on “Cooking winter squash in the classroom- part 2”

  1. Nona
    July 29, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    I loved the pictures and story- what a wonderful thng you do for all those children, Melissa.
    Three sisters stew- where did you hear of it?

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