Black Krim Restaurant Chef Gives Pre-Schoolers a Cooking Lesson
The Black Krim Tavern is a farm-to-table restaurant where the menu is always changing. It's open Tues.-Sat. 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and open for brunch on Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The following was published in the Herald of Randolph Nov. 24, 2011.
The Black Krim Tavern on Merchants Row in Randolph, which is normally open for dinners, opened its doors at midmorning to more than a dozen lively 3-5 year-olds from the Randolph Community Preschool.
Teachers Rachel Drury and Lisa Richards, along with several moms and one grandma, accompanied the students on their very first cooking field trip. Soon settled at four tables in the cozy dining room, they had a number of questions for chef/owner Sarah Natvig, beginning with “Are you Sophie’s mom?” (She is.)
Passing out leaves of Romaine lettuce, Natvig told the children they were going to help make Caesar salad, and asked them to break the lettuce into small pieces, as she showed them how to make the salad dressing.
“This is an egg yolk from Sophie’s chickens,” she explained, adding it to mustard, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. As she pulsed the food processor, she noted, “Right now, it looks like yellow goo,” eliciting a round of “eee-yews” and wrinkled noses from her small listeners.
Natvig added extra-virgin olive oil, vegetable oil, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and “little fishes” (anchovies), asking “Can you say emulsify?” (most of them could) as she explained how the ingredients would blend together.
Next up was the bread, and at each table, the children stared fixedly into a small bowl in the middle, where Natvig had combined yeast, sugar, and warm water.
“Watch for the bubbles,” she told the children. “The sugar is waking up the yeast, so it can help the bread dough to rise.”
As the bubbles began to appear, the youngsters exclaimed excitedly. Adding flour to the liquid, the adults stirred the mixture into a stiff dough and turned it out onto the floured table surface.
“Now we’re going to squish the dough so the flour, yeast, and sugar can all work together,” Natvig explained.
Small arms, with sleeves rolled up high, were soon busy energetically kneading and punching down the dough. Some of the budding bakers stopped to stare in fascination at their extremely doughy, sticky fingers, wiggling them in delight. Others really got into the kneading and punching process, and the room was filled with cheerful chatter.
The dough was eventually put into pans for baking and the final lesson—how to make delicious hot chocolate—began. Natvig’s recipe includes coconut milk, half and half, and dark chocolate.
While the bread the children had made was baking, Natvig brought out several loaves she had made in advance so the children could sample them, along with the salad and hot chocolate. Holding the still-warm bread to their noses, they inhaled the yeasty smell as she ladled hot chocolate into their mugs.
Tummies full with their midmorning snack, the children also helped clean up afterwards. Then they snuggled together with their teachers on the restaurant’s big couch to have their picture taken for The Herald, before donning their coats to walk back to the pre-school.
Both Natvig and her young students had the same comment to make about their morning cooking lesson—“That was fun!”