“YUM! This is really good!” exclaimed a student during a recent MATTERbox cooking session at Brooklyn Center High School. For five weeks, 12 high school students with the 21st Century Learning Program worked alongside Timber Bay Mentors and MATTER to create and explore simple, healthy, and delicious meals that students were encouraged to re-create at home for their families.
Students learned that healthier options can be the easy and affordable choice, using MATTERbox foods with complementary fresh ingredients as the teaching platform. They also learned cooking tips and tricks, working in small groups to create the following meals, capping off each week with a family-style meal together.
Week 1: Black Bean and Corn Pasta Salad
Week 2: 10 Minute Italian Rice
Week 3: Baked Chicken Flautas
Week 4: Vegetarian Tostadas
Week 5: MATTERbox Freestyle! Create-Your-Own-Recipe with MATTERbox
What’s in a MATTERbox?
5 oz can of tuna in water
10 oz can of chicken in water
16 oz whole wheat penne pasta
16 oz whole grain rice medley
10 whole wheat tortillas
12 oz can of low sodium corn
12 oz can of low sodium black beans
18 oz can of diced tomatoes
23 oz jar of unsweetened apple sauce
Throughout the five weeks, the students became more confident and comfortable with the MATTERbox contents and preparing recipes, with a lot of laughter mixed in. At the end, however, it was the chance for students to create their own recipe, or ‘freestyle’ that really piqued their interest. Each student was able to showcase their skills and taste preferences as they were presented with a MATTERbox, 45 minutes, and free reign in the kitchen…even though a chicken, tuna, bean, and cheese wrap may not sound like a perfectly rounded meal, it was certainly an experience no one is soon to forget.
In addition to their sharpened ability in the kitchen, the meals became so much more than food. Students’ relationships were fostered and deepened during team prep time in the kitchen and around the table together at each week’s family meal.
This program was made possible through a collaboration with Brooklyn Center High School 21st Century Learning Program, Timber Bay Mentors, MATTER, and Boston Scientific.