Hummus. Turkey tacos. Stir fry. Grain salad. Trail mix. Dessert sushi.
Sounds like the exotic menu at the latest trendy city restaurant, but it’s actually a sampling of the delicious foods recently prepared by fourth-grade students from H.B. Wilson Elementary School in Camden, N.J.
They participated in a five-week, hands-on nutrition education experience in our Consumer Test Kitchen team conducted with the Food Bank of South Jersey and Cooking Matters, which connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthful, affordable meals.
The students quickly became passionate and creative in the kitchens, pairing new ingredients, improvising recipes, and, for the final week, transforming mystery ingredients into unique, memorable dishes.
Prior to the class, 33 percent of the students “kind of” liked tasting new foods, and 60 percent said they were able to follow recipe directions; five weeks later, 92 percent were eager to expand their culinary repertoires, and a full 100 percent were confident they could follow a recipe.
“I liked the hummus,” said a student who tried the bean-based dip for the first time. “My group used peanut butter to make it, and it was delicious!”
Jane Freiman, Group Manager, Consumer Test Kitchens, who has conducted after-school cooking sessions with the Food Bank of South Jersey since 2012, is still inspired by the program:
“Hearing that these kids have made the recipes at home for their families, having that openness to try new foods and being more aware of their food choices—that is what I love about Cooking Matters!”