Friday, April 23, 2010

interrupting our regularly scheduled broadcast for some BIG news!

No! I am not pregnant! I have so been there done that!
But, I am going to embark on a project I have never done before...

Photo taken from 3rd and 4th grade Field Trip in September. The children picked fingerling potatoes from a local farm to be cooked in the school's kitchen for their lunch.

I am going to be writing a cookbook! A few years ago our school drastically changed its dining program. A new chef came on board along with his passion for wholesome, local and organic ingredients. The school got rid of all the fryers and bad for you dishes. "Chef Peter" whipped our kitchen and dining room into shape. Instead of fried wings, Sloppy Joes, greasy burgers and all sorts of mysterious cholesterol-rising dishes he served salmon, yogurt chicken and farm-raised burgers that were grilled, not fried. At first some of the children scoffed at these bizarre dishes. But with a gentle nudge the children enthusiastically tried these good for you gourmet meals. Parents started to show up for lunch with their little ones! Should they, for some reason, not like the hot meal that is served, there is a full salad bar with much to choose from along with fresh, home made bread, or home made "Gator" granola and organic yogurt. Chef Peter has managed to do in our small school what Jamie Oliver is trying to get schools across the country to do. Our children know about seasonal and local fruits and vegetables. A small garden lies on the school grounds. The children are responsible for maintaining it. When possible the ingredients are brought into their kitchen. The school orders its beef from a local cattle farm and produce from a local produce farm. Fruits and veggies are seasonal when possible. Furthermore the school no longer buys pre-packaged goods. No individual, half drunk milk cartons to be tossed. Milk is purchased in bulk from another (fairly) local farm, The Connecticut Cow. Huge amounts of money are saved by doing this. (Do not have precise dollar figures at the moment.) Once a week pizza is served. Chef Peter makes it all from scratch and it is the best damned pizza I have ever had! By making his own pizza, the school saves $400 a month that goes right back into the kitchen budget toward the purchases of local and organic ingredients.

Naturally when the kitchen went healthy there was a bit of resistance. As with everything, change can be hard. But the parents and students who were skeptical are now incredibly pleased. I have been thrilled from day 1 since I have always been aware of ingredients and nutrition.

So Peter and I were chatting in the kitchen yesterday. We decided to join forces. He's got connections in the food industry and we are hoping for some sponsors and endorsements. We talked about this idea a few years ago, when he first started, and we tried to get a committee together but our idea was a bit ahead of its time. Well, we feel that right now that the time could not be more right!

We'll utilize his cooking recipes, my writing and photography and create our book. The proceeds will go directly back to our small not for profit independent school. Hopefully we'll snag the interest of a few other parents along the way!

Our project will commence this summer. And I could not be more excited!


Gwennie said...

I can't wait to buy a copy. This is right up your alley! Congratulations!

Jen said...

So exciting, Jess!!