Welcome and onions!

Welcome to my Cool Food blog!.

My goal with the blog is to talk a bit about the nutrition classes I am teaching as well as general information about nutrition for kids and families. In addition, I’ll include details of some of the family meals I prepare and give you the kids reviews on them in their own honest way! My children are currently aged 10, 8 and 6 and have lots of opinions about lots of things: Minecraft, Lego, StarWars, puppies, Frozen, Christmas all year around  etc, etc as well as food so look out for their appraisals.

Lovely onions!

Day 1 Lesson 1 and I’m nervous to say the least! I’m going to teach 45 3 to 4 year olds about onions. Onions you say?? Why do kids want to know about onions? Well, why not? Onions are a good source of fibre, Vitamin C and anti-oxiadants as well as being anti-inflammatory and are an important ingredient in thousands of dishes and almost every house will have a bag of onions lurking around (surely?)!

The reason why I started my business, The Cool Food School, was to educate children from a young age about food and to show them that bags of potatoes and trays of carrots do not magically appear in the supermarkets. There is no food genie or magic vegetable fairy, despite what kids may think (my own included)! Or do they even think about where their food comes from?

Bearing this in mind, I have set out to bring food out of the plastic supermarket bag and into the classroom through fun activities, a series of videos and customized worksheets (and that’s just the pre-schoolers – look out junior infants – I’m coming for you too!).

So back to onions! I wanted to start with vegetables, often the most loathed part of the dinner plate for children. Why is that, I wonder? Is it in the way we, as parents, present them to children? Overcooked, undercooked, unimaginatively? Or is it because, as parents, we hold our breath while they toy with a carrot, then give them a round of applause when they actually place said carrot in their mouth? Oh, the pressure, the pressure. There are a number of reasons why kids reject vegetables - have a look here http://www.maryannjacobsen.com/2014/11/5-ways-kids-are-conditioned-to-hate-vegetables/

Back to the class – oh, how I digress! I have a selection of onions ready to go, a worksheet, handout for the parents and a little video I made with my own children and Head Gardener, Alison, showing onions being planted. Wish me luck!



Surviving onions!

I survived my first class,  but boy, oh boy, do I have a whole new respect for Montessori teachers! The children loved the little video and were excited about feeling and smelling the onions. The class smelt like an onion factory afterwards - not to mention my clothes!!

My own children are well used to onions as I use them almost every day in my cooking. We have used a variety of implements to try and protect against the tears brought on by the chopping including swimming goggles (not great), safety glasses that came with a chemistry set (better) and the snorkel glasses (best but difficult to see out of for chopping onions!).

Today, I am making a veggie chilli including lots of smoked paprika and leftover vegetables in the fridge. Hopefully we’ll get two days out of it. We’ll serve it with avocado (great for the healthy fats), grated cheese and some sour cream. I’m not following a recipe so to speak





And now for the fun bit – I have asked my children to review each of the recipes as we eat them. They have also picked their own names to be used on the blog ( I thought I might get a Superman, Elsa or Darth Vader but no, we have a Buster, a Christopher and  a Rose….)

Buster (6yo) gave it a 5/10 and ate most of it

Rose (8yo) couldn’t give me a figure but said it was very hot, ate it all and went back outside to play!

Christopher (10yo) gave it a big thumbs up, licked the plate and decided on 9/10!

The visiting niece, Matilda (15 yo) gave it 8.2/10

Max (the darling husband!) gave it 6.5/10 – not super impressed with the lack of meat but scoffed it nonetheless.

I think definitely worth making again! I am going to throw some smoked mackerel into the leftover sauce tomorrow and serve with mashed potato laced with parsnip for the extra fiber, anti-oxidants and yum factor.






Deirdre Doyle