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Hjördís Opens His Eyes to New Foods

travel gnome for children

Hjördís (pronounced yor' dis) lived underground and only ate what grew underground, like carrots, turnips and potatoes. He was warned by his gnome family to stay away from unusual or different foods. Hjördís covered his eyes to keep from being tempted by all the interesting things he saw to eat. He tried to keep from breathing in all the pleasant food smells, for fear of being tempted to eat what could be harmful.

One day while Hjördís was away from home, he was hungry enough to try some forbidden aboveground food. To his surprise, the aboveground food was as tasty as it looked and smelled. Best of all, it did not poison him. After he ate it, he felt good, and not hungry anymore. He was quite excited to get back home to share this good news with his family.

Hjördís recreated some of the wonderful aboveground foods. He made fajitas, tortellini and ice cream, just to name a few. He often combined underground and aboveground ingredients to make what he called Hjördís's fusions. He combined his underground carrots with aboveground flour and sugar and butter to make a carrot cake.

For this week, both the Pies, Cakes, Cookies and More class and Cooking With Chef Lisa received a little gnome from Hjördís's family to take with them for February break. All of the gnomes were missing their eyes. The SproutChefs gave them eyes and names. They are to show them (with their new set of eyes) all the wonderful foods from the aboveground world. This assignment, if they choose to accept it, is optional and should be a fun way to explore the culinary world.

I would like to receive pictures of SproutChefs with their gnomes, trying new foods,, along with captions of where they are and what they are eating. I will combine these pictures into a little book to show when everyone returns.

Please send gnome pictures to

This gnome project is good for trying new things at home, abroad, and all the places in between.

This week all classes had a food tasting. Everyone got samples of unusual foods like jicama, star fruit and tindora. In this atmosphere of wonder, they tasted and rated the food on a scale of 1-5. Trying everything was highly encouraged, but no one was forced to eat anything. Everyone was asked to keep their opinions to themselves until the end, when we shared.

It is okay in my class not to like something, but it is not okay to announce to the class before everyone has had a chance to make up their own minds. We also discussed being offered unusual food as a guest in someone's home. How do we politely tell the cook that we do not like their food? The SproutChefs came up with some very polite ways to say no thank you, without making the cook feel bad.

This is my gnome, Louie Jr. He tried a dolma in Royle's Cooking With Chef Lisa class. Dolmas come from the Mediterranean countries of Greece and Turkey. They are wrapped in grape leaves and can contain meat or fruit, but this one had rice inside. Louie Jr. also tried kafta and chicken kabobs. As you can see from the picture, he gave his Greek experience a thumbs up.

For February break, Louie Jr. and I will be going to Mexico City and Cancun, Mexico. We plan to look for a new recipe to share with the ChefSprouts when we come back.

Recreating travel recipes at home makes vacations last just a little bit longer.

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