Written by Tashanna Edwards, Communications Intern, Eastern Connecticut State University
Callahan is a registered dietician and has been with Grow Windham for four years now. She teaches knife skills and shows the students how to prepare food for themselves while implementing healthy eating.
Once all of the students settle down in their seats, Callahan starts off by reading a book that is closely related to the food she plans to cook. On Wednesday November 9, 2016, she read Secret Pizza Party, by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri, to a group of first and second graders. Each student had a clear cutting mat with a picture underneath, providing the steps on how to assemble the pizza.
They started out by using a plastic knife to cut up tomatoes, red peppers and spinach for their individual pizzas. The students were taught to use “bear claws” and “lobster claws” when cutting certain foods in order to avoid nicking their fingers. After all of the veggies were cut up, each student was handed a plate with a whole grain tortilla and a dollop of tomato sauce on it. The kids eagerly spread the sauce over the tortilla with the back side of a spoon. Next came the cheese and then they added on their toppings of choice which many students couldn’t help but to nibbled on. When asked what her favorite part of cooking with afterschool students was, Callahan said, “I love hearing kids say that they don’t like certain foods and then hearing them say how much they love it after trying it for the first time.”
Last but not least, it was time to cook! The students were called into a line where Callahan used a skillet to cook the personalized pizzas. When everyone was back at the table with their cheesy creations, they waited for directions from Callahan before tasting their food. When she gave the “okay” they all said in unison, “Bon Appétit, let’s eat!” The kids were very impressed with the end result and they cheerfully socialized while enjoying their pizzas.