Sep 23, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
For most children, vegetables are the least appetizing part of any meal. So how would the average kid react to not just any vegetarian dish – but veggie lasagna?
Friday marked the first of three kid’s vegetarian cooking classes held at the Solvay Public Library. Four girls attended the class and were apprehensive, to say the least, at the thought of a favorite comfort food undergoing the vegetarian transition. When it was revealed the dish would also be dairy free they were in disbelief:
“No dairy?” asked Kaley Scandalle, 12.
Lead by Sally Hafner, a registered nurse and lifelong vegetarian – her parents raised her on the meatless diet they had adopted in college – the class lead the girls through the preparation of vegetarian lasagna and a “chocolate” dessert that substituted carob for cocoa.
Marion Lake, a Syracuse resident who has volunteered at the library and was helping Hafner with the class, acknowledged that kids are usually not as fond of vegetables as older adults, but she was optimistic.
“We’re really going to get healthy tonight,” she said at the start of the class. Lake started a vegetarian diet several years ago as part of her fight against cancer, and lost her appetite for meat.
Though at the beginning of class two participants admitted they were coerced into signing up in order to find an appreciation for vegetables, all four agreed that veggies were not high on their lists of favorite foods.
Mike Carter, whose daughter Jillian, 8, was attending the cooking class, said he hoped the class would help incorporate more vegetables into their diet.
“She doesn’t eat vegetables as a rule,” Carter said, half-joking. His daughter confirmed his statement a few minutes later, telling Hafner she joined the class to see what vegetarians ate and that she did not particularly like most vegetables.
Nearly an hour and a half later, as the lasagna was pulled from toaster ovens and rationed the class admitted they still seemed a little nervous, but the young cooks dug into their creation.
“That’s their natural curiosity and eagerness to try something new,” Hafner said. “It’s almost easier in some ways to get into some good habits when they’re young.”
Hafner cited several health advantages of a plant-based diet, including fewer instances of cancer, diabetes and heart attacks.
“We’ve got the color advantage,” she added, pointing out the range of hues a garden offers, in contrast to the red, brown and white of meats.
Library Director Cara Burton said since the library renovation had included a kitchenette, the facility was now able to offer cooking programs, and the kid’s vegetarian class was the first of it’s kind at the library. The menu for next week’s class will include veggie burgers and cottage fries. Pre-registration is necessary, classes are limited to 10 young chefs. Visit solvaylibrary.org to register online or stop by the library.
Show your omnivorous side
Want to try vegetarian cooking for yourself? Hafner has planned “Steps to Good Health” cooking classes for adults.
Where: Seventh-Day Adventist Church community room, 2551 West Genesee St., Westvale
When: 6 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12, 19, 26, Nov. 2 and 9.
How much: $50, ($10 per class to cover costs of food)
What to expect: A meal, cookbook, demonstrations on how to prepare recipes, and health information. All are welcome, but seating is limited.