A Day of cheese making, dough kneading, and pizza baking!
Yesterday was Food Revolution Day and like last year (you can see it here) I got my thinking cap on to see how I could make a difference on this day. Why? Because doing nothing won’t change a thing.
Like I said last year and will say again, every day should be a Food Revolution Day, this day is just the moment when we celebrate it, and get other people involved, to spread the word. Knowing so many ‘foodies’ in my line of work, I is my opinion you can’t be a foodie without being a food activist. You can’t love food and not want to be a part of a world wide battle for change in food choices. As a foodie you want the best produce, and the best meat is raised stress free and with respect, the best veggies are local and the best grains are those that are GMO and chemical free. You don’t want additives, colorings and other types of crap that shouldn’t be in food. But is saddens me to see that there are in fact ‘foodies’ who don’t care about where the food came from and how the meat was reared. Or they do care, but don’t care to take a stand and try to educate others about the dangers that linger on our supermarket shelves. Anyway, we can’t all be pro-active.
Food Revolution Day is the brainchild of Jamie Oliver, who finds it important to use the fact that he is famous for a good cause by getting people involved in this day dedicated to food education. He has been campaigning for better food education in schools in the UK and USA and a change in school dinners. He has also set up Ministry of Food centers where people can come and have cooking lessons for free, just so that they would be able to cook from scratch for themselves and their children. He also has his Food Foundation charity to raise funds for projects in food education.
Why having a day to raise awareness and having a jolly good cook off is important is stated on the Food Revolution Day website here >
“It’s time to take action!
We need every child to understand where food comes from, how to
cook it, and how it affects their body. This is about setting kids up
with the knowledge they need to make better food choices for life.” Jamie Oliver
This year the focus is on children, they are our future after all and for the future’s sake, something has to change in our eating habits. So the plan was, get some kids together!
Nine in the morning and it feels like the silence before the storm. Twenty five 11 year old children are coming to my friends Loes and Krikke’s restaurant to learn how to make cheese and bake their own pizza’s in an old Flemish wood fired bread oven. To make it all more exciting for the children Bruno has designed another smashing set of goodies, a box containing a diploma, a recipe booklet and a wooden spoon for them to take home as a prize of the day.
They arrive, with a storm, as anticipated. They are eager to learn and we start off with a little talk on what Food Revolution Day is all about. I explain to them that although cooking is so much fun, so many people never cook because they don’t know how to. They totally agree that packed meals and processed foods are bad for you and see no sense in why you would buy it – fantastic, these kids understand! All but a few know who Jamie is and think he’s cool for getting us all cooking and breaking a world record by hosting the worlds largest cooking lesson. Cheering and jumping up and down follows when I tell them that the record has been broken. I love these kids.
We start with cheese making, we are working with raw milk that came straight from the farm that morning and I explain that this is raw milk because it hasn’t been pasteurised. Once the milk has been heated to blood temperature, one of the kids adds the buttermilk, salt and vegetarian rennet and we wait and see what happens. ‘Oohs’ and ‘aahs’ when the milk starts to thicken and true amazement when I show them the pot of milk I made an hour before. The fresh pot goes to rest and we transfer the curdled milk to a bowl with cheesecloth to drain. They take turns wiggling the cheesecloth and then comes the coolest part of squeezing the curds. Twenty five little hands squeeze and squeeze and I stop them before there is no cheese left to squeeze, the kids just love to get hands-on and feel every process.
The cheese is now ready to drain further and the children go to my friend Loes who explains them the process of making your own bread and pizza dough. She explains why we are using spelt and the difference between yeast and sourdough. To show them a live organism she passes around her sourdough starter which is bubbling away. The children are eager to smell and look at it as the curious little creatures they are.
The kneading is fun and they love to put their weight in and they are amazed by the rising little balls of dough. Veggie cutting for toppings happens with dedication and they can’t wait to start creating their own pizza’s. Pizza time shows us how hungry 11 year olds can be and we soon fear we won’t have enough to fill their bellies as they keep on coming back to decorate more pizza’s and devour them in seconds.
Luckily we have strawberries straight from the farm with the cheese we made before, to fill those last gaps in their tummies. They go through the lot in minutes and keep on asking questions, these kids are eager to know more and gives me hope for the future. They really get the importance of this and seeing their happy, excited and amazed faces throughout this day fills my heart with joy.
I think I’m going to do more of these workshops with children, I know my partner in crime Loes will be up for it too. The future is bright when you want it to be.
Special thanks to:
Bruno, my rock, for always supporting me in things like this and for the artwork he created for the workshop • Loes and Krikke, my friends who were a part of this last year and again this year. Loes especially for teaching the children the pizza making on one of her most busiest weekends of the year • To the children of this class, you guys were brilliant • To the parents for trusting us to teach their children good things.
And last but not least, a huge thanks Jamie, for being there to motivate us to take action and get cooking. You rock, big time.