|New School Cuisine|
The time leading up to Christmas seems to have escaped me rapidly as this fall has been a busy one for me, personally. Over a year ago I was asked to be a participant and contributor of recipes for a cookbook. As you may or may not know, I am a School Food Service Manager for a K-12 school in rural Vermont. The cookbook project came about as a partnership between Green Mountain Healthy Kids Challenge, Vermont FEED, School Nutrition Association of Vermont, and the Child Nutrition Team at the Vermont Agency of Education. Years in the making, when faced with the new USDA meal patterns last school year, it was time to get busy and bring the dream into reality. Many of the USDA recipes no longer met the new requirement for 50% whole grain rich and/or vegetable subgroup requirements. What is available in California isn't necessarily available to those of us in rural Vermont. Using raw ingredients including a lot of local products, fourteen School Food Service professionals (myself included) wrote recipes that were tested on their respective students before submitting them to the project.
I discovered very quickly that my recipes, although easy for me to understand the steps and processes, are not so easily translated to the next person. There is a real art in presenting a standardized recipe to gain uniform results across the board. Equipment I might have may not be available in smaller schools, and larger schools most likely have more modern equipment to make the cooking process more efficient. To pull it off, we utilized professional recipe writers for Eating Well magazine, Instructors and students from New England Culinary Institute (NECI), professional food stylists, and nutrition experts. Each one of us involved donated countless hours to this project above and beyond our normal work load to test, give input, and more. Thank goodness for those professional recipe writers to pull it all together for us. In late October I received my copy of the finished cookbook prior to it becoming available publicly. You can view a digital copy from this page (scroll down to the red box to access).
The very day I received my copy of the cookbook, I also accepted the nomination and was unanimously voted in to serve a two year term on the Executive Board for School Nutrition Association of Vermont. I have been a member of this association for a number of years, but had no clue the complexities and amount of "behind the scenes" work they accomplish for the benefit of all school food service professionals and children in our state and nationally. As a result, needless to say, my time leading up until now has been jam packed with commitments for my full-time job. :)