Mud Kitchen Recipes

“Where did you put my mint?”

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

This is one of those moments. It seems like I should know where the mint is and it does seem like something I would have done, put a collection of mint somewhere and then forgotten just where. But mint? We don’t currently have any mint in the play yard. And where would I put it if we did have it?

“Remember? I gave you that mint and you put it someplace safe?”

Again. Tick, tick, tick, tick.

Sure, there are so many ways to create platforms for children to directly experience the feel of patience, and time for them to experience patience by waiting, but the children truly become experts as they patiently wait for me to remember where I help them hide their soon-to-be-completed pine cone and gravel pies, their redbud petal sprinkled sand cakes, and . . . a PLATE of some-kind-of-mint.

That’s when I remembered that our mud kitchen chef had asked me to store a PLATE of “mint” (actually dogwood leaves) in a place that would keep them cool and fresh as class was ending the day before. We had found a nice shady space under the spreading hosta leaves to hide the “mint” leaves. Now, with this sense of knowing, we found the plate right away, but the dogwood leaves had shriveled and dried.

“That’s okay,” our chef said, “We can use these for the — what do you call those things that dry up and are crispy.”

I was a bit stumped, “Kale?”

“No, not those. You know they’re crisp and dry?”

“Kale chips?”

I was good and stuck on the kale idea. Obviously.

“No. I think it’s called arugula? Yes, that’s it. Arugula,” the mud kitchen in the teepee was again open for business, “We have arugula now!”

We have arugula. The sky is the limit!

The dogwood leaves dried up and magically transformed in purpose from mint to arugula.

The dogwood leaves dried up and magically transformed in purpose from mint to arugula.

Hearth and home. The leaves need to be crunched up and the dishes need to be washed. Customers must be served and all the while, new and creative dishes are always in demand.

Hearth and home. The leaves need to be crunched up and the dishes need to be washed. Customers must be served and all the while, new and creative dishes are always in demand.

Meanwhile at the mud kitchen, things are really cooking. So much going on over here. The play is deep and wide.

Meanwhile at the mud kitchen, things are really cooking. So much going on over here. The play is deep and wide.

So much of this activity has been inspired by this simple addition . . . water. Now that we are well past all the freezes AND I had help moving water, bucket by bucket, we were able to fill the water barrel which is right next to the mud kitchen. We have other rain barrels and collection systems, but having this barrel right in the mud kitchen brings a lot of change in how the children use the mud kitchen.

So much of this activity has been inspired by this simple addition . . . water. Now that we are well past all the freezes AND I had help moving water, bucket by bucket, we were able to fill the water barrel which is right next to the mud kitchen. We have other rain barrels and collection systems, but having this barrel right in the mud kitchen brings a lot of change in how the children use the mud kitchen.

Mud
By Mary Lyn Ray