This week, I led a morning workshop at A Tiny Lab for Early Learning, a childcare centre in Halifax's North End (my neighbourhood!). My good friend Jackie and I helped 21 preschoolers make lunch from scratch. It was a truly exciting morning.
I was very excited to partner up with A Tiny Lab, because their food philosophy is very similar to mine here at Bite-Sized Kitchen. We both value whole ingredients and cooking from scratch, and of course, encouraging independence in children. The atmosphere during the morning was impressively calm, considering I was working with 3- and 4-year-olds; their attention was very focused on busying their small hands working with and tasting the ingredients I had laid out in front of them. We prepared the same meal I made with the 8-12 year olds back in August during this workshop. We began with kale pesto, then made salad dressing and garden salad, and finished by rolling out pasta dough. The pasta was cooked by the staff at the centre and topped with the pesto, the salad was dressed, and all was eaten for lunch.
We used beautiful Nova Scotia produce for the salad. We are having a veeeery warm fall here, and so there are still beautiful tomatoes, sweet peas and mixed salad greens available from local farms. I brought two sorts of peas: sugar snap and shelling peas. The kids had so much fun breaking open the shelling peas and pulling out the crunchy peas inside. They pulled the tops off the sugar snaps before tossing them into the salad. These tasks are all perfectly suited to little hands. Then we got on with the rolling of the pasta, which is also great fun - and absolutely achievable - for small children. These kids rolled and cut all the pasta for the entire lunch - for 25 people.
When it came time to eat the food everyone had made together, the children were so excited to try everything. A Tiny Lab serves food family style, and children have the chance to serve themselves, which is how I always serve samples in my lessons and also serve family dinner at home. The owner of the centre, who had invited me to do the workshop, told me later that "Everyone loved it and it was incredible to see EVERYONE digging into pasta and salad."
All the thanks to my sweet sweet friend Jacqueline Quackenbush for helping me teach this workshop and taking many of the photos in this post. Thank you, A Tiny Lab, for your warm welcome!