What's in that bag? What's a lentil? Can I taste one?
These were among the chorus of questions that greeted us at the start of class last week. A lentil is a legume, related to peas and beans, that cooks relatively quickly and is high in protein. We discussed how there were many colorful varieties used in recipes from around the world. We also explained that since our lentils were dried, we would not be able to taste them until they were cooked.
Our students love to chop vegetables and enthusiastically set to work on our soup and salad ingredients. As we set the table, we realized that there was a bit less enthusiasm for tasting our finished dishes. Some of our young cooks were not sure that they would like the soup ingredients, and others had a negative first impression of the tart lemon-yogurt dressing that we made for the salad. The final reviews were better than expected. Most of the class liked the soup, especially when we grated some Parmesan cheese on top. We also found that once the dressing was added to the chopped vegetables, nuts and sweet apples, the overall flavor was much more balanced.
We did learn an important safety lesson the hard way. Knives left in the bottom of a sink of soapy water can cause nicked fingers. This is not a mistake that we are likely to repeat though!
- Elena Levitan and Susan Murphy