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Learn by Doing: Trying New Foods Can Be Fun

March 30, 2017

There is nothing like cooking to inspire you or your children to try new foods.

I experienced this firsthand at the Culinary Workshop hosted by the Food and Culinary Professionals (FCP) Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Napa, California.

Spoiler alert: The moral of this story is to encourage those around you (and yourself) to get in the kitchen and experiment with new things. You might just like them!

Let me start with a confession: Beets are not my favorite food; I have never liked the name or the way they look. To be fair, I had never eaten a beet until recently; it’s just a food I have chosen to avoid. But when my daughter and I attended a hands-on cooking class at Silverado Cooking School as part of the FCP meeting, I came face-to-face with beets! Under the guidance of Chef Frances Wilson, we prepared a meal made of fresh, seasonal foods grown and made in Napa Valley. My job in the kitchen was to help prepare the salad—a recipe that paired beets with ricotta cheese, which we made ourselves.

The recipe involved cleaning, peeling and steaming the beets, followed by more peeling, then cutting, prepping and seasoning them. We then made a salad dressing with garden-fresh herbs. We tried to use all parts of the veggies including the beet greens, which were part of the main dish as a way to honor the harvest of the food and help minimize food waste.

After all our hard work, we plated and served the salad and the other dishes. How could I not try the dish I made with my own hands? Much to my surprise, the beets were not bad at all! The flavor was earthy and was very nicely complemented by the soft, creamy, fresh ricotta cheese. Thirty of us, mainly registered dietitians, gathered to eat a meal together. We came in as strangers and left as friends. What brought us all together? Food.

As fellow health and wellness professionals, let’s join together and inspire people to get connected to food, not only by learning where it comes from and who helped grow or raise it, but also by learning how to experiment in the kitchen to try new foods!

Do you have other ideas or use similar approaches? Tell me more in the comment section below or via @JeanRagalieRD on Twitter.

 

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