We started class this week talking about the influence French cooking has had on food in the United States. A few students shared about their French heritage. Then we discussed the Le Puy lentil, which has been grown in France for over 2,000 years and is unique in its color and ability to hold its shape even when well cooked. We made a lentil salad and learned a new vocabulary word, brunoise, which refers to a culinary knife technique that results in a very small, uniform dice. Our chefs practiced with great skill a brunoise of onion, carrot, and celery.
While the lentils cooked, we made butter from scratch by shaking heavy cream (and a big pinch of salt) in a jar until it separated into the butter and buttermilk. Third graders, it turns out, are excellent jar-of-cream-shakers.
We seasoned our lentil salad with Dijon mustard (which we learned is the name of a place in France) and red wine vinegar. We ate the lentils with fresh baguette slathered with our very own butter. Next week, we will return to lentils, but with an Ethiopian twist!