It seems that cooking with or for kids has every other celebrity chef running to take over a school cafeteria for a day. I had the chance to work with a few kids in China and wanted to try my hand at having them cook for themselves.
The older kids were given the more difficult task of making the majority of the school lunch. They took to it well and lunch turned out not only tasty, but on time. I was positive the latter wouldn’t happen. Most of the administration at the school were positive that both the former and latter wouldn’t happen.
In terms of being lost in translation, speaking to the Chinese Principal took the cake.
Me: The kids will cook their own lunch.
Me: It will be good for them to learn to do things for themselves and for each other.
Majority of the school administrators were not overly keen to let kids take the skin off carrots, but in all those ellipses in our conversation was something else. It’s not exactly becoming of the supposed status of these children to do work that someone else with less education could do for them. I found those silences unfortunate. But to those who supported this random cooking lesson, the result was worth it.
The medium sized kids took on a recipe they found on the internet and taught it to some of the tiniest people I have ever met.
They liked the idea of Rice Mice. I helped them find the recipe and we altered it a bit for our own purposes.
It’s fairly simple. The rice and cream cheese just needs to be mixed until it’s pliable and sticky.
We changed the ears and eyes, but we needed to keep the cream cheese so that the rice would stick together. Not to be too harsh, but more than a few found the cream cheese and rice combination nasty, sticky, and a kind of pasty taste that made the students squint and utter “bu hao” from their tiny mice filled mouths.
Eating soon turned to a play dough session. Edible play dough would have been better, next time around I’ll go for that.