Students, parents cook up fun at Culinary Night in the Garden

Rebecca Rusiecki, Editor-in-Chief

In order to incorporate the End Zone Garden into the Applied Arts Food classes’ curriculum, RB hosted a Culinary Night in the Garden for students and community members. The event was held on Wednesday, September 18, and gave Foods students a chance to test out new recipes made with fresh vegetables grown in the garden. The Culinary Night also showed the benefit and ease of vegetarian cooking.

The idea for the Culinary Night originated after English teacher Kathleen Harsy heard of a similar project in a school in California. This school was part of the Edible School Yard Project, which provides resources and ideas for how to incorporate gardens into school curriculums.

“Ms. Harsy approached me last spring wondering if this idea was something we could do together to highlight the value of the garden, the ease of preparing foods grown and harvested by ourselves, the sense of community that comes with sharing a meal, and how small steps with food choices makes a difference in your life,” said Foods teacher Patti Farlee. Farlee, along with Harsy, played a vital role in organizing the Culinary Night.

Those in attendance had the chance to improve their cooking skills and try their hand at making the dishes served. The guests were led by students in Farlee’s Foods classes.

“I felt like the kids were engaged in meaningful work. I really felt that the students and parents felt like they were engaged intrinsically, instead of just extrinsically,” said Harsy.

Among the dishes served were baked tomato squash casserole, summer squash salad, kale salad with cranberries and pine nuts, tomato panzenella salad and lemon basil cookies. Students in Farlee’s Honors Advanced Foods and Foods II classes prepared the night’s meal. According to Farlee, this gave her students a chance to experiment with different culinary techniques and learn to cook for a large group of guests.

A total of 22 guests attended the Culinary Night in the Garden. Harsy and Farlee originally planned to serve the meal outside in the garden, but the event was moved inside due to the rain. Overall, Harsy and Farlee are happy with the success of the event. Due to the success  of the Culinary Night, Harsy plans to make this an annual event at RB.

“From the response that I got, it sounds like people are interested in eating foods grown in gardens. They’re interested in eating together more frequently as a family. They’re interested in learning more on how to include healthy eating in their everyday life,” said Harsy. “I was impressed with the community it built between staff members, between parents and students and all of us. It felt like it was a little family.”

“Food brings people together. Stories are shared, memories made, laughter occurs, and, of course, our nutritional needs are met,” said Farlee.