Professional development through food

For the lower school faculty, the second half of the October 7 faculty in-service day was spent in the Dining Hall, working together to create edible experiments with locally-sourced food. Part team-building exercise and part laboratory experiment to test how using food and cooking might be further woven into our LS curriculum, the faculty eagerly embraced the challenge of working in teams to create meals using the same basic ingredients and minimal cooking equipment.

The group started off in the Centrum where Chris Hartman, wearing both is Headwater Foods and Sustainability Director hats, introduced each of the unique and excellent produce offerings in each blue bin. Two Headwater staff members, Ryan and Ryn, enthusiastically described the origin of each vegetable and fruit, and made connections to history of the area, literature, and science in the process.

Once each team was given their blue bin, they transitioned to the Dining Hall where several induction cook tops were available, as well as the grill outside and the oven in the Green Kitchen. The challenge was to work together to create a dish to pass at the end of an hour. As is often the case with our students, the faculty took that challenge and exceeded it by leaps and bounds. Each team wound up creating a complete meal of at least three dishes, ranging from appetizers and salads to main courses to desserts. While there was a little competition and reconnaissance work infused in the fun, in the end, everyone shared their creations and all enjoyed a hearty and appreciative feast with colleagues.

The final impressive list of the delicious dishes that were created included:

  • Spaghetti squash casserole with leeks, carrots, and Parmesan cheese
  • Apple/pear crumble
  • Fresh salad with lettuce and apples with plum dressing
  • Kale chips
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Roasted pepers
  • Beets with lemon butter sauce
  • Apple crisp
  • Ratatouille
  • Scrambled eggs with layered peppers and cheese
  • Honeynut squash with apples and carrots
  • Poached apples and pears in cider
  • Potato-crusted frittata with tomatillo sauce
  • Squash with beets and apples, with cider reduction and toasted seeds
  • Seasonal fruit trio crumble

While many of our lower school classes already use baking and cooking with the students to bring science, math, and sustainability to life during our unit studies, this adventure allowed the faculty to take one step closer to making edible education more available and integrated into our program, fueling their creative planning for future projects and integrated units of study.

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