My Little Rose is a mentoring program run by Sonia Burke who regularly organizes monthly outings for teenage girls in the foster system. She does it on her own, and just asks community businesses like ours to chip in and provide activities. I figured that we would bring the girls in and show them the garden, show them our compost, edible flowers, bugs (proof the garden is organic!), passionfruit, and then watch their faces fill with surprise. It’s such a joy, always. My favorite thing ever.
As usual, what blows children’s minds are these finger limes. We have a tree that has hundreds on it, some are even pink! They contain little caviar-like beads that taste like lime and as you eat them, you forget about everything else. They are that special.
Then for a cooking class, we moved over into The Salon where our chef, Matt explained that we would be making a simple brown rice, chicken, and vegetable bowl, and then turn that into a soup.
Wow! Check out that stellar “bear claw” form that is used to hold down the vegetable being cut in the photo there. This trick protects the tips of fingers from getting snipped.
This recipe is very adaptable and easy. The Chicken and Rice dinner can keep for several days, and the soup can be frozen. It’s an easy recipe to make meals for the entire week with your children.
Matt used a whole, fresh chicken from Primal Pastures to have the girls help him break down. At first they were intimidated but then got really into the process. It’s important to understand that a chicken comes whole (and is more affordable that way), and was actually a live animal at one time. Sometimes that connection is not intact, and once it is, I think there is the potential to have respect for what we eat.
Showing youth how to flip ingredients neatly in big sauté pans is always a great party trick. You can practice with cereal, and get really good at it!
Matt had the girls chop up a lot of vegetables to get experience holding a sharp knife properly. A dull knife can be the most dangerous threat in a kitchen. Keep your knives sharp!
First dish up! Chicken, Rice, and Vegetable Dinner. So healthy, so good.
And next up, quickly turning that chicken dinner into chicken soup to eat up or hold for later in your freezer.
I was so moved by Sonia’s commitment to reaching out to me on behalf of these teenage girls. When I asked what motivated her to continue this work, knowing that much of the expenses came out of her own pocket, she said she just wanted to contribute to making things better for young women and to provide a positive role model when there isn’t too many. There’s a lot of daps thrown out for people doing organized community work here and there in big grand gestures, and it’s all very commendable, but it’s people like Sonia who are quietly and consistently making a real difference in a few people’s lives for no real reward, no press, no big social media props, that are the heroes.