On Monday I had the privilege of running a Seasoning Works spice workshop for a group of Brownies in Bethnal Green, London.
Fifteen lively 7 – 10 year old girls formed the group, and the task I set them was to create a herby, fresh tomato salsa.
It was a delight to see how positive and capable the girls were at making their salsa entirely from scratch, requiring just the lightest guidance from me and the adult leaders.
“Does anyone know the names of these herbs?” I asked the girls, as I held up bunches of coriander, oregano and parsley.
Their replies and guesses proved that many had more than a little knowledge of these aromatic ingredients and their willingness to chop vegetables, taste and mix spices, whether familiar or unfamiliar to them, was fantastic to see.
Some followed the recipe exactly. Some free-formed it and added rather generous amounts of lime juice and pepper! After all, it’s great fun to bash spices in a mortar and pestle and squeeze a lime till all the juice runs into the bowl, so why stop at a teaspoon…
Everyone loved their own finished salsa, however citrusy and they learned how to add more tomato to balance their finished dish.
If children are going to grow up being able to cook well and healthily, knowing how to turn some humble vegetables and herbs into a delicious, fresh dish is essential.
This group prove it’s never too soon to let children loose in the kitchen!
Thank you very much girls – you were brilliant.