At junior high, taco time espouses healthy eating

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The Devries family, Teagan, Makenna and Leah prepare cauliflower and chick peas for roasting during a healthy taco dinner at the junior high last week.

Cauliflower and chick peas. An ancient variety of field corn. Walnuts and lentils. And, oh yeah, some good old chicken.

That’s what a host of families last week cooked up as part of a taco night at the Columbia Falls Junior High. The idea was for families to try healthy, new ways of cooking, said Jenna Foster the Foodcorps service member working with the junior high this school year.

“It’s all new recipes and all of them are on the healthy side,” Foster noted. “There’s zero actual taco meat.”

Which is to say, beef. Having said that, cauliflower and chick peas are pretty tasty once they’re roasted with spices; and lentils and walnuts taste a lot like hummus once the lentils are cooked and the walnuts are roasted and then blended into a puree.

The chicken was cooked on the stove in an array of spices and then shredded. The tortillas were made from painted mountain corn, noted counselor Shari Johnson. The corn, a field variety, is one of the first corns that was likely cultivated by Native Americans thousands of years ago, Johnson said.

Soaked in a solution, the kids ground it up and then make tortillas. The corn was grown in the school’s garden, which Johnson oversees every year.

All of it smelled great and tasted even better. Who said tacos can’t be healthy?

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