“Cooking is, without a doubt, one of the most important skills a person can ever learn. Once someone has that knowledge, that’s it – they’re set for life”. Chef Jamie Oliver
This week we Doristas pulled out our chopping blocks, sharpened our knifes and picked up our whisks. It’s Jamie Oliver’s third annual Food Revolution Day and, once again, French Fridays with Dorie is here to do battle. Last year’s theme, with teachers and foodies in 74 countries participating, was Cook It & Share It. This year we were asked to “cook with kids and get them excited about food.”
I asked my neighbor, Cavanaugh, a 17-year-old junior at Aspen High School, to cook with me. Although Cav is now into football, college interviews and getting fit in his tux for this month’s prom, I’ve known him since he was a little boy fixated on StarWars.
Last Christmas I was at City Market when Cav and his pal, Dominick, were grocery shopping. Their cart was piled to overflowing with snacks. Chips, crackers, dips and spreads, cookies, Coca Cola, candy – nothing nutritious. “Hi, Cav,” I said, “ what’s all this?”
“Oh, hello, Mrs. Hirsch,” he replied. “We’re just stocking up for the rest of the holidays.”
When I returned home from the store, still amused, I did what any respectable pseudo-Grandmother would do, I called his Mother. “Blanca, I just saw Cav and his friends at the grocery store,” I reported. “They were loading up for the rest of the school break and absolutely nothing was nutritious.”
After hanging up, Blanca went flying down the stairs to the rec room where the boys were unloading their groceries into the snack cupboards and fridge. “Mrs. Hirsch just called and says you didn’t buy anything nutritious.”
I soon received a text from the boys. “Yes, we did, Mrs. Hirsch. We bought bacon!”
That’s the reason why my young friends, Cav and Dom, celebrated Food Revolution 2014 with me in my kitchen last Wednesday afternoon.
We first made Tzatziki, a Greek yogurt-based blend of seedless cucumbers, fresh herbs, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Since it is distinctively tasty and creamy, it’s a great dip for crudités and chips. Although neither Cav nor Dom had tasted Tzatziki before, they recognized and liked the dill flavoring. As a substitute for mayo, maybe? “This would be great on a hamburger,” Cav suggested.
Because I wanted a show-stopper to rival store-bought cakes, cookies and candy bars, we also made Dorie’s totally decadent Top-Secret Dark Chocolate Mousse. Rich, creamy, and delicious, this mousse is something the boys could make for their parents and eventually their own friends and families. A bit more complicated than Tzatziki, this dark chocolate concoction was awesome (their word, not mine).
I hope you readers enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed cooking and spending time with these very handsome young men. Jamie Oliver wants this day to be a celebration with kids and “day of global action to raise awareness of the joys of cooking good food and it’s impact on our health and happiness.”
It wasn’t easy to juggle busy schedules, practices and classes to make this afternoon happen. And, even I admit that cooking with Mrs. Hirsch was probably not at the top of their Want-to-do List. But, at the end of the day, we’d laughed, weathered a yolks/egg whites separation disaster, handled constant incoming texts from girlfriends and created two rather tasty dishes. I’d call that a pretty perfect revolution, wouldn’t you?
French Fridays with Dorie is an international cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table. Although both the recipes in this post are already linked, you can again grab the recipes here and here. If you wish to see the revolutionary efforts of my colleagues, go to our FFWD site.