Farm to Table Field Trips Part 1- Happy Dairy Month!

     The term “author” may be defined in terms of written pieces, but also “the maker of anything;  creator;  originator”  (  Although I tend to focus on the written word when blogging, I found an opportunity to discover farm to table authorship, so to speak.  Thus, the squirts and I enrolled in a cooking class at Eckert’s under the guidance of guest teacher, Rebecca Collier, Nutrition Educator for the St. Louis District Dairy Council.  Of course, the squirts were looking forward to shopping with squirt-sized grocery carts (as promised) after class courtesy of Eckert’s Market,

but I was eagerly anticipating the actual cooking class with my girls.
     In approximately 90 minutes, the girls completed four nutritious and aesthetically pleasing snacks:  Tuna Cheese Sailboat Sandwiches, Ring around the Rainbow Parfait, Vegetable and Cheese Kabobs, and Strawberry Milk Blender Special.  Besides the focus in each of the recipes as having dairy as a main ingredient, the farm to table ideal was also brought forth with fruit for the parfaits and smoothies being freshly picked that day.   Being introduced to the baker who baked the rolls bright and early from the adjacent kitchen for our sandwiches allowed us to literally visualize where our food originated or was authored.  Thus, if an ingredient was not produced from farm to table by Eckert’s, local products were implemented for use in the recipes.

Mixing the Strawberry Milk Blender Special
Tasting the Strawberry Milk Blender Special

      The girls worked at their own stations with much intensity and determination.  My three-year-old sawed diligently through tomatoes with her plastic knife while my (picky-eater) five-year-old ate every last bite of the cantaloupe parfait she had created.  Although neither squirt dived into the tuna sandwiches (convinced they do not like tuna, but don’t realize I hide it in the marinara sauce), their pride with their handiwork was evident when they demanded we take the sailboat-shaped sandwiches home for Daddy to enjoy.

Silly Snacks: Family Fun in the Kitchen

     Children’s cooking classes using child-friendly recipes such as those found in Silly Snacks is yet another way to encourage the love of books.  The squirts and I “oohed” and “aahed” through the mess-friendly board book pages and decided on the Mud Hole Dunks on page 16.  Needing prepared chocolate frosting, a staple in our pantry to help soothe Momma’s late-night cravings, and fresh fruit.  Ding . . . ding . . . ding!  Strawberry season is here;  let’s go picking to not only experience the cookbook, but also to learn the direct route of the strawberries from farm-to-table.

     Off we went to Eckert’s Farm.  Loaded onto a trailer, we rode the roughly quarter mile to the fields and began picking.  The girls ran to the end of the row, our designated starting point, with much enthusiasm, and picking ensued.  Although not playing on any loudspeaker system, I found myself humming The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” as I chased them down the row (my first experience picking strawberries, too). 

    Two flats or roughly ten pounds later, we loaded ourselves and our bounty back on the trailer so that we could head home and Mud Hole Dunk our ruby red prizes.