Geitmyra Culinary Center for Children

by admin on 22/05/2014

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Having walked past Ullevål hospital along the heavily trafficked Kirkeveien, it was a pleasure to turn left at Kierschows gate, passing a graveyard and arriving at Geitmyra, a farm from the 18th century which has miraculously survived urbanisation and been turned into a Culinary Center for Children. Inside one of the buildings, two rooms were full of children and a few grown-ups, one of them Erik, a part-time musician and sound technician who also works part-time as a mentor for the children. The children were from class 6B at a local school, meaning that they were 11-12 years old.

The children were getting ready for preparing lunch. Erik started by telling them what they should prepare and asked for volunteers who willingly accepted. After a short time, they had been divided into about several groups. Recipes were available for each group, but Erik was always willing to help someone in need.

One group started preparing, cleaning and cutting vegetables, another one should cut apples into small pieces, boil them, and turn them into apple jam, a third one should mix herbs in a mortar and pound the mixture with a pestle, another one should boil eggs, and one group should heat whey, a by-product of cheese-making, turning it into a type of cheese.

The eggs came from Geitmyra’s own hens, and shortly before my arrival an egg with a partially developed chicken had been put in the fridge. The children seemed to be quite unhappy about it. Erik said that all fertilised eggs should have been marked with a pen, but this egg somehow got past the control.

While the children were cooking, Erik helped all those who needed it, both with practical problems and questions like why the water stopped boiling when the cold eggs were put in the pot.

I couldn’t refrain from asking the children if they would rather go back to school, but only one girl wanted to go back in order to learn maths, while the other ones preferred staying. It also seemed like they didn’t miss the school kitchen.

Having worked for some time, the children asked for a break, which Erik willingly accepted. Outside, some of the girls tried to tempt a hen or a rooster outside their small pen in order to hold it and after some time, they succeeded.

Since everyone was getting hungry in the meantime, we entered the building and Erik kindly let me eat with the children even though I hadn’t prepared anything. They and Erik had been baking three focaccia breads the day before, and he took them out of the oven just in time for lunch. Besides, we could eat whatever we wanted from what the children had prepared.

After lunch, Erik asked all the children to bring nutritious and varied food to Geitmyra the next day. No marks would be given, but he really hoped noone would bring industrially made food.

For those who want to know more about Geitmyra, please have a look at their website. They arrange a wide range of food-related courses, workshops, publish booklets, growing herbs, etc.

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