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Archive for Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Nutrition taught in kid-friendly format at Food Fare

February 7, 2007

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Q: Last year my children attended the Food Fare that you sponsored for youths. Are you having it again this year?

A: Yes, we are. And even though we promote it for youths (ages 7-18), it's not just for kids. Many parents and adults interested in food and fun enjoy the day as well. It is not mandatory for the parents to accompany their children, but they are welcome to join if they are interested.

Food Fare 2007, "At the Movies," will be Feb. 17 at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, Building 21. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and programs run from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. As participants enter the building, they will have the opportunity to experience "hands-on" activities in five different "theaters."

To set the stage, the focus of each session will be centered around favorite movie themes. The sessions will include how to power up with grab 'n' go breakfasts; fuel up on Route 66 with "fast track ... hot-shot racing" lunches and more.

Over the years, we have seen a decrease in the number of youths and adults who know basic food preparation skills and nutritional information. This is a perfect opportunity to learn how to prepare quick, easy and nutritious foods for mealtime, plus learn about what are the right foods and fluids for athletes to consume. You will even learn the basics of making cream fillings for pies and meringues.

The "directors" and "producers" include our 4-H food superintendents, Twilla Brown, Jan Hornberger and Lori Queen; our 4-H Club adult and teen leaders, and K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County.

To help us plan for enough food and supplies, we ask that you preregister, if possible, by calling me at 843-7058 by Feb. 14. Registrations at the door also will be accepted. The cost is $8 per person. However, no one will be denied participation due to inability to pay.

Typically, this Food Fare attracts around 130 participants, so come and have fun with us.

Q: What is quinoa?

A: Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa or ki-NO-a) is a whole grain that has existed for thousands of years. The Incas referred to it as the "mother of all grains." This description is very fitting because these little seeds pack a punch of nutritional value.

Compared to other grain products, such as wheat, quinoa contains a high amount of protein made up of all essential amino acids needed in the human diet. In particular, it is high in lysine. Quinoa is also a good source of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is gluten-free, which makes it a safe food for those on gluten-free diets.

When harvested, quinoa in its natural state is coated with bitter-tasting saponins. This coating is not very palatable for humans. This bitter coating protects the seeds during growth to keep birds from eating the seeds. This coating is removed before being sold in stores.

Quinoa can be used in meals much like rice or couscous. It is simple to prepare. Bring two cups water to a boil and add one cup quinoa. Cook 14-18 minutes. It also can be prepared in a rice cooker. Use in a variety of dishes, including breakfast in place of oatmeal. Add honey, fruit and nuts for added flavor.

Q: What's the difference between parchment and waxed paper?

A: The biggest difference is parchment paper can survive high heat. It is quite strong, even when wet. The paper is treated with a sulfuric acid bath to add strength to the paper. The paper surface becomes hard, smooth and impervious to heat and moisture. Some parchment paper is coated with silicone for a nonstick finish. Virtually nothing will stick to this finish.

Parchment paper is ideal for moist cooking methods such as en papillote. For a substitute cooking lid, cut a sheet to fit the cooking pan to trap moisture during cooking. Use it to line baking sheets for baking cookies. It can be reused several times.

Waxed paper is not heavy-duty or all-purpose. It is made of tissue paper coated with paraffin wax on both sides. It is greaseproof and somewhat moisture proof. Liquids will eventually soak through. It works well for wrapping fatty or juicy foods. Its slippery coating makes it ideal for making sticky foods such as candy. Waxed paper can survive oven temperatures if completely covered such as in the bottom of a cake pan.

- Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.

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