Today, the lunch line had something special in store for Colonial Hills Elementary School third graders. A sample of collard greens that the students harvested themselves from the campus garden was on the menu.
North East ISD Chef and Culinary Development Coordinator Taylor Thompson was tasked with turning three pounds of collard greens into a delicious side that enticed even the pickiest eaters. That challenge inspired him to serve the collard greens with cornbread.
“The idea with the cornbread is to hook students into trying something new,” said Thompson. “I just love going to work and having a fun challenge like this pop up. I hope to be able to do more of this in the future.”
Thompson started by washing the collard greens and then cutting the stems. Instead of tossing them, he diced each one and cooked them with onion before adding the rest of the greens, pre-cooked bacon and seasoning. Once the collard greens wilted down, he added chicken stock so the cornbread could soak up the juice.
Thompson loves spending his days in NEISD kitchens. The value of a thriving community garden, like the one at Colonial Hills, is a vital tool in promoting healthy eating habits and nutrition.
“For a kid to be able to get the chance to experience that – hopefully that turns on a lightbulb and it’s something they can do for the rest of their life. It’s really good exposure at this age.”
The collard greens and cornbread were a hit in the serving line. In the coming weeks, students hope to harvest cilantro from the garden.