FoodCorps Service Member Brings Magic of Squash Alive in Putnam, CT [Cooking Light]

Every week I look forward to my Thursday afternoons, where I get to spend 45 minutes with Mrs. Martel’s Kindergarten class, a great group of brave taste testers who always greet me with smiles and cheers of ”Ms. Lisa is here!” As I walked into their class last week I carried a whole butternut squash like a baby in one arm and balanced my book and the sample cups in the other. The students looked at me disgusted, saying “I hate squash,” a sentiment that spreads like wild fire among the other kids. I knew I’d have my work cut out for me to change their looks of horror into intrigue and excitement in just 30 minutes.

Squash is a wonderful winter vegetable or fruit depending on whether you are teaching from a nutritional or botanical perspective. Botanically speaking it’s a fruit since it contains the seeds. But dietitians actually classify many botanical fruits, such as squash, tomatoes, or eggplant as vegetables, because their sugar levels are much lower than what we think of as a traditional fruit. However, for kindergarteners squash is simply a mysterious orange vegetable that reminds them of the mushy baby food they used to eat. As a FoodCorps service member in Putnam, Connecticut, I teach nutrition and garden education classes with the main goals of connecting kids to real food, helping them understand where it comes from and how it can help them grow up healthy. Reaching kids at an early age improves the chances of this learning taking root and instilling passion and enthusiasm surrounding meal time.

Dig into the full post and recipe at Simmer & Boil, the Cooking Light blog!