NUTRIFEST 2K12 focussed on wholesome cooking for school children
It was a new experience for Nagajothi, final-year undergrad at Fatima College. The students at Bethshan School were literally nagging them, she said, saying “Akka, naan seyiren!” (I’ll do it!)
One of those students, M. Essakiammal, enthusiastically elaborated on the dish she made. “We made ragi flour leaf cake. Preparing the ragi dough, we added jaggery and slapped the mixture on banana leaves before baking them in idli kaadai.” Her schoolmate Kamalesh had cooked up irresistible puffed rice balls.
Like Essakiammal and Kamalesh, 35 other students from Bethshan, a school for the mentally challenged, attended NUTRIFEST 2K12. Students aged 12 to 25 happily cooked and coloured dishes along with home science students of Fatima College.
In the three contests conducted – colouring, memory test and cookery — the Bethshan children vied to outshine each other.
College students helped the children in the competitions. For cooking, a team comprising four school students and two college students together made simple but healthy and wholesome dishes.
The home science students taught them the names of the vegetables, fruits and ingredients before preparing the recipes. They prepared unique recipes – tricolour chappathis, puffed rice balls, carrot halwa, chivda pulao and ragi leaf cake. “We celebrate this annual fest to create awareness on the importance of nutrition. This time we have roped in the mentally challenged students,” says Vasantha Esther Rani, Head, Department of Home Science with Food Biotechnology.
She explained the tricolour chappathis. “The children are attracted towards colour and shape. Instead of making ordinary chappathis, we added carrot, greens and onions to give colour to them.”
“We have selected recipes rich in iron, vitamins and proteins,” says Magdalene Virgini, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition.
A. Jeyapaul, Coordinator, Bethshan School, says that the programme was organised to enhance children’s community participation and help in their cognitive development.
Last week, as part of the celebrations, the department organised week-long intra-departmental competitions.
Dr. Vansatha Rani says, “We want to tell their parents too about the need for nutritious food and how it helps children. And we want to concentrate only on easy recipes that are not only quick to make but also cooked with readily available ingredients.”
Next week, it will be the parents’ turn to get their taste of nutrition awareness.