A cornerstone of our sustainability curriculum is our commitment to providing home cooked snacks and meals, prepared with organic and local food. Our own Chef Ben prepares a nutritious meal and two nourishing snacks each day. Chef Ben draws inspiration for the menu through many sources. From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon to Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Chef Ben’s cooking style is eclectic yet traditional. It is not uncommon for him to make his own stock from scratch and then use them as a base in a soup, for rice, or to saute veggies. Chef Ben has developed a menu that incorporates seasonal foods. We also eat what we grow in our garden – it gets bigger every year! Children graze on broccoli, often eating it right off the stalk like an ice cream cone! Spring and fall bring many salads to our lunch table, and the children become more and more adventurous with every meal. Chef Ben bakes our bread, grinds our own sunflower seed butter, and integrates vegetarian and vegan meals regularly into our offerings.
We connect children to the food they eat and include them in the planning and preparation of meals. We have a ritual of cutting and sharing fruit as part of our at our noontime meal. When we prepare food, we avoid Teflon and never microwave in plastic.
We prepare and serve all our snacks and meals on site using minimally processed and packaged foods. We buy in bulk when we can. We food shop locally and buy organic.
When children clean up, they scrape their wasted food into a compost bowl. All the children eat family style, where we share food around the table, wait our turn, help younger children take their serving, and become aware when the last bit of a dish is served. Our meals nourish our bodies and our spirits through the conviviality of sharing a meal together.
When we share a snack or a meal at Portland Montessori Collaborative, it’s like fine dining – the children use cutlery, glass and porcelain dishes which are both satisfying to use, conveys a sense of respect for the children, and provides clear and accurate feedback about the limits of their use. Our food curriculum lays a foundation for lifelong health by providing a strong foundation for healthy food habits.