Did you know that the spice turmeric comes from a rhizome of a plant in the ginger family? That cumin was used in mummification in ancient Egypt? That black pepper actually is the fruit of the plant?
Our students are learning about these spices and much more in this month’s recipe: Potato Curry. Our recipe calls for a combination of turmeric, cumin, pepper, salt, garlic, and canned tomatoes in a savory sauce for potatoes and greens. In their classrooms, students together work in groups to prepare different parts of the recipe, with some groups measuring seasonings and ripping greens, while others dice garlic and open canned tomatoes.
After receiving a lesson in knife safety, students take turns chopping potatoes. Students learn techniques such as the “bear claw” and “tunnel” to keep fingers safe when cutting, and practice keeping the knife at a safe “home” on the cutting board whenever it’s not in use.
While the curry cooks, students explore the cooking experience in a variety of different ways. Younger students might listen to Yoko, a story celebrating food diversity and adventurous eating. Other classes might explore the variety of spices that go into curries — including coriander, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, and ginger — by smelling each spice and examining the seeds, pods, or rhizomes the spice comes from. Another favorite activity (believe it or not) is helping with the dishes. Responsible chefs clean up after themselves!
When the curry is ready, students enjoy it together. Common Threads Food Educators emphasize respect for food preferences and encourage every student to take an “adventure bite.” Some students quickly express the curry is not their “cup of tea” and offer suggestions to make it more appealing, but most share rave reviews. “This is the best recipe so far!” exclaimed one Roosevelt first grader, while elsewhere a Cordata kinder exclaimed,“This curry is out-of-the-world good!”
A special thanks to John from Pioneer Potatoes and Anna and Jared from Slanted Sun Farm for donating ingredients for this recipe! And to Whole Kids Foundation and PeaceHealth for contributing useful cooking tools!