We started out at a tent that teaches you how to compost. They said if you leave newspapers in a bin that is shut with worms inside, you’ll get compost. The first step is to put newspapers in a bin with a special type of worms, and after about two months all there will be is compost, and worms. Then when you want to have an apple, or a banana you could throw the peel, or the core into the compost and it will become compost in a few months. The guy who ran that station said, “I keep my bin under my bed.” I thought that was odd because why would you want a bin under your bed when you know it has dirt, and worms in it. When he finished speaking, a helper at that station helped us make seed balls using seeds and compost. My seed ball was made out of dill, which will eventually turn into a dill plant. My brother made one with cilantro seeds.
After we finished that station, it was time for me to go interview Carla Hall. Carla was waiting at a picnic table in the back for me. I asked her some questions and then we had a good conversation about things like food and our favorite restaurants. Here are some questions from the first part of the interview.
Q: What was your first childhood memory of cooking?
A: “I didn’t cook much as a child, but I remember cooking as a Girl Scout. I made spaghetti and an apple crumble to get my badge.”
Q: What was your favorite food as a child?
A: “I loved oranges. I can eat a whole bag of oranges. My grandma had this big garden. So, I loved cucumbers and vinegar. That might sound weird, but it’s so good. I also love my grandmother’s mac and cheese.”
Q: What made you get involved with today's event?
A: “I love kids, I love people discovering things, I love teaching, and to see people get an aha moment. When I do my cooking demo I’m going to bring people up.”
You can see the full interview with Carla at the video below.
She also gave us a copy of the recipe for the pea hummus to share with you on my blog. Here it is:
After we finished the pea hummus, I had an interview with Toby Adams who is the Director of the Edible Academy and who helped create this event.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for this event?
A: “Right now I supervise the garden and we are only open from April-October, and so we thought it would be a great way to have an event in the middle of while school is out. During either the Spring break or February break. We decided February break would be best. What we usually teach about is gardening, and cooking with the plants we grow. We don’t have any plants growing right now because it is so cold out.”
Q: Why did you invite Carla Hall?
A: “Carla became one of our friends. We have a close relationship with her co-host Mario Batali. So, he comes to a lot of our events. So, during our gardening season he brought Carla with him and we met Carla and she loved our family garden and the Edible Academy. So, she decided that we were great partners, and now she is our friend.”
Q: How did you pick the other chefs for this event?
A: “That is a good question. We reached out to different organizations that also do food education or associate with food education. We asked them if they wanted to join us, and they had experience teaching kids about food. They were from all around the metropolitan New York area, and we thought it would be nice to spread the word.”
Q: Why is this event for children?
A: “I call adults big kids, but we usually have events for children, but everyone can learn here.”
Q: What do you think kids will learn from this?
A: “Well I hope they learn a little bit more about how they eat every day and where their food comes from. I hope they make some connections to the gardens and the farms that produce food. I hope they learn cooking is fun, and that they can be involved with family meals at home, and maybe learn about new foods, and might be inspired to grow foods at home, and have some fresh foods available.”
Q: Will you have this event more often?
A: “Well right now this is our slow time. In about five weeks we are gonna open our two acre garden. It’s bigger than this whole tent. Then we have activities every day of the week from April-October. We do cooking demonstrations every week, three times a week, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.”
After my interview with Toby, we went to our last tent. It was a tent where they teach you about bread. When I got to the tent they were showing different grains and we had to guess what they were. I guessed two grains and got them right. They were rice and quinoa. At the tent I got to make flour. First, they put in a grain and we mashed it in a stone bowl with a masher. When your time was up they put the flour in a bag to take home. After we finished that tent we headed to our seats to watch Carla’s demo. During the demo, she gave us good tips on how to make a pesto out of broccoli and she was entertained us. She called up a few people for her demo. At the end of the demo it looked so yummy. This was a good experience for me and if you want to do something like this look you should look into some of the other Edible Academy activities at the New York Botanical Garden.