Bite of Brainfood Blog

Getting Creative with Auntie Oye!

Written by Intern Jessica Hulse-Dillon

After six months of teaching Brainfood students how to chop, measure, and serve to one another, we decided they were ready for a new challenge: a guest chef!  Last week Auntie Oye came to class to help our students learn how to make West African food. Recipes included Fufu, a smashed plantain dish, Jollof rice, a traditional dish with tomatoes and vegetables, and Egusi stew, with chicken, goat, and smoked fish.


Coffee & Youth Development: 4 Lessons from a Starbucks Ad

Here’s the thing -- even the most inspiring job cannot inoculate you against the occasional tough morning.  In Brainfood life, we work with teenagers, food, gardens, and shared kitchens, all of which can be at turns inspiring, unpredictable, and time consuming.  This combination, as any mother, chef, or gardener can tell you, is not necessarily conducive to a good night’s sleep. 

The Workshop Jitters

It was Tuesday at 3:45pm and I waited patiently for students to arrive for program.   Fifteen minutes later, a group of 30 adults greeted me at the door.  

“Hi! We’re here for the pop-tart making class led by Community MVPs!” 

Great!  I thought.  Though, where in the world were my MVPs?  By now it was 4:30pm and program begins at 4:00pm.  

MVPs knew that recipe backwards and forwards and each person had perfected their speaking part to a tee.  And yet now, at 4:45pm, I was standing in front of 30 adults I had never met before, trembling with fear, awkwardly trying to ease their confusion.

All I kept thinking was where are my community MVPs?  

And then my alarm went off.   It was 7:00am – I had dreamt all of this.  I call it the pre-workshop jitters.  

Hello, Brainfood!

Written by Communications Intern Casey Brand 

Hi. My name is Casey and I’m one of Brainfood’s communications interns this semester. I stumbled across Brainfood when I was searching for an internship last October. Brainfood is where my interests intersect; working at Brainfood combines my passion for cooking and communications. Even better, I get to work with high school students, which I absolutely love. On my first day in Brainfood’s Chinatown kitchen, I was nervous, excited and eager. I’ve worked with high school students before, so I had a vague idea of what to expect – but these students surpassed my expectations.

Shout Out to George Washington Carver!

Written by: Chelsea Samms, Community MVPs Intern 

Many of us have grown up on that savory, filling, basic lunch sandwich, called peanut butter and jelly. Whether you preferred chunky peanut butter over smooth, strawberry jelly over grape, or the crust cut off as opposed to on, it was a meal that you could never go wrong with as a child. Even as adults, some still enjoy a good old fashion PB&J sandwich to hold them over throughout the day or as a quick snack before bed.

However, have you ever sat down and wondered where peanut butter came from? Who took the time to experiment with peanuts and come up with all of its versatile uses? He or she must’ve been a genius! 

Spice It Up!

Written by our Columbia Heights Intern Jessica Hulse Dillon 


This week in class we focused on spices and herbs!  While we’ve been using them in our recipes all along, we haven’t talked about them specifically.  

New Beginnings

Submitted by Intern Lauryn Woodruff

The fact that it is the end of January gives me a full mix of emotions. While I am sad that the holidays are over, I am excited to be back in class especially after this crazy weather here in the District. I look forward to what the remainder of this year will bring.


Facing Prejudice: Adultism 101

 If you ask most people if they are familiar with the concepts of sexism, racism, or homophobia, they would probably say that they are. And understanding that a prejudice exists is the first step in dissolving it. But if you ask those same people if they know what adultism means, many would probably look perplexed and shake their heads. Until recently, I would have too.

Meat, meat and more meat!

As we kick off the second half of the year, much to our student’s excitement, we have finally arrived at our chicken unit! 
“Now we can finally have meat in our dishes!” exclaimed one student.   But, not before learning about the proper safety and sanitation practices that go along with working with raw meat of course.  Participants learned about cross contamination as well as four different ways of telling if chicken is done and safe to eat.  
When cooking our delicious fake flake fried chicken (a healthy rendition of fried chicken) our students used crushed corn flakes as a crispy breading for the recipe that we baked in the oven! Then, it was on to making wings (personally my favorite class)! 

Seasons Greetings!

 This past Wednesday five different Brainfood classes came together to put on their very first special event of the school year – Brainfood Holiday Celebration!  

Leading up to the event participants worked hard to prepare food for 130 guests to ease preparations the day of the event.

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