This past February CommunityGrows staff and the afternoon Buchanan YMCA youth were cooking up a storm at Hayward Rec Connect thanks to a grant from Aetna and Kaiser-Permanente Foundations. In one class we made veggie burritos and fruit and yogurt parfait. During this afternoon, we were joined by Talia Matau, one of our BEETS interns who read the story, We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past by Jacqueline Woodson. This story turns to a tale for the younger set with this bouncy story about an annual family picnic. Teeka, the young narrator, accompanies her grandma to the park with a basket of fried chicken and biscuits. Soon her best friend Paulette and various family members arrive, bearing bowls and bags of home-cooked food and desserts. Each is introduced through Teeka’s eyes: Reverend Luke, who wields a Bible, “can eat like the devil–strange, since he’s such a holy man” and “Moon Pie is really Joseph, but don’t he look just like a Moon Pie?–came empty-handed, too.” But where is Cousin Martha and her infamous, dried-out apple pie? Everyone chows down, and when Martha finally does show up–with a store-bought cake (“No time to bake”)–Grandma greets her with a little white lie: “Oh, but Cousin Martha, all year long, I’ve been thinking about your pie.” The snippets of dialogue help keep this story lively, but it’s Greenseid’s (When Aunt Lena Did the Rhumba) effervescent illustrations, done in candy-bright acrylics, that inject the pizzazz. One hilarious spread shows Auntie Sadie’s shocked face when she finds her corn cobs covered with flies (plastic flies, contributed by naughty Cousin Terrance, whom readers see fleeing his parents in the background). In another, roly-poly Moon Pie literally spills across the spread. Readers will enjoy the gentle fun poked at family gatherings here. Diane Greenseid’s exuberant artwork bring to life the humor, love, and of course, the wonderful food of the quintessential family picnic.
Hayward Rec Connect and the Buchanan YMCA kids were abuzz on Monday, November 16, 2015 with excitement to cook with Chef Chauncy Yarngo. Chauncy Yarngo is from the Kpella tribe in Liberia who came to America at a younger age and has become a professional chef in the United States. Chef Chauncy currently works part time at Facebook Headquarters and full-time with the 2nd largest catering company on the West Coast, Best Beverage Catering. He will be taping a reality show called Bringing It to the Table on the Food Network soon. He has cooked for some famous people, including President Obama, Steph Curry, Danny Glover and Janet Jackson, to name a few.
On this day though, it was all about the kids! He started out by preparing a plate with grapes and pears in the shape of a turkey for Thanksgiving and passed it out to the youth to enjoy. Then he prepared a delicious Brussel Sprout stir-fry that everyone gobbled up. He started by showing how the Brussel Sprouts grow on a stem and how to harvest them. Then he halved the Brussel Sprouts and stir-fried them with coconut oil, salt and blue cheese crumbles, topping them off with a sauce of balsamic vinegar and honey and macadamia nuts. Such a delicious and nutritious treat! Later in the hour everyone got to enjoy a non-sweetened smoothy made with apples, strawberries, coconut milk and bananas. Thumbs up all around! Chef Chauncy is looking forward to taking his experience back to his native land, Liberia. “I’m good at bringing people together and making them feel good about themselves through the food I cook. I like donating my time helping people less fortunate than me, like the homeless. I have a great wealth of experience in cooking international cuisines but I love cooking Liberian food and favorite to eat is fufu and pepper soup.”
For more photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
On Thursday, July 9th the Buchanan YMCA classes was busy in the Rosa Parks Upper Garden with Ms. Serena Squash. After taking roll, the class talked about what plants need to survive. They talked about how sunlight is absorbed through the plants leaves, and water is taken into the plant by being absorbed by its roots. They learned that plants need good soil which contains minerals for nutrients. These minerals dissolve into the water in the ground. This is the same water that is taken in by the roots. Finally they learned that air is taken in through the plants leaves. After more discussion about what animals need to survive, they talked about insects and why they are important. Everyone went around the garden looking for insects: rolly-pollys, worms, beetles, butterflies, ladybugs, praying mantis, and others.
A highlight of the morning was checking out the chicken coop and seeing how many eggs were there.Later that day, a class from Prince Hall Learning Center harvested some giant leeks and carrots from the garden. What a treat!
for more photos, see our Flickr Photostream here.