We were happy to offer a lesson featuring lots of fresh vegetables for the kids this week as the terrible air quality continued and our bodies all felt under attack. We will end our semester with recipes from Asia and were fortunate to have a student’s mother who is Vietnamese share with us how to pronounce gỏi cuốn (spring or summer roll) and nước mắm (dipping sauce made from fish sauce). We learned how the tone you use for every syllable matters in a tonal language like Vietnamese, which is different from a non-tonal language like English.
The kids watched a video of a woman making fresh rice paper from scratch in Vietnam before we started class and shared things they noticed about the process. Then we learned the French word julienne, which means to cut into long, thin strips. A summer roll requires ingredients cut in a julienne so they don’t poke out of the delicate wrapper.
There were many shouts of disbelief when the chefs got into the kitchen and held up the dry, edible rice paper. Some said it looked like plastic. They got to work prepping all of our ingredients, which included fresh spearmint and chives from the school garden. They dipped their wrappers in a bowl of warm water, laid the wrappers on the table, filled, and rolled. One of our students who is Vietnamese proudly demonstrated his rolling skills to the whole class on Thursday. This is a fun, interactive meal that is super versatile and truly delicious. We hope you try it with your family!