As 14-year-old Nyamet plucks the feathers of a duck and pulls back the skin covering its breast, Rob Olson from the Manitoba Wildlife Federation (MWF) asks if she’s ever done this before.
“No,” she replies, “but I learned from the best, my mom.”
Nyamet was born in Ethiopia where her mother raised chickens, other animals, and crops before they moved to Canada. She watched her mom process the chickens growing up.
“Are you a cook?” Rob asks Nyamet as she cuts out the breast meat.
She says she’s not.
“Well, you could be one,” says Rob, “because you’re really good at this!”
This is the second time Rob Olson, Director of the Manitoba Wildlife Federation, has partnered with Food Matters Manitoba to lead a workshop on processing wild game. The workshops give kids from Winnipeg’s North End a rare chance see and experience where their food comes from and how it gets to their plate. Along with the lesson on species, Rob also gets into the ethics of hunting, and how to get involved in hunting in the province through MWF’s many great programs.
This year, Rob brought three ducks he shot last hunting season for the youth to pluck and de-breast. And with little guidance and lots of encouragement, Nyamet jumped right in!
For the second half of the day’s program, the kids head to the kitchen to whip up goose fajitas. They split into three groups to make tortillas, salsa and guacamole – all from scratch while the goose meat marinates. Once the salsa and guacamole are made the kids start slicing peppers and onions to fry with the marinated goose breast. None of the kids have ever made salsa, guacamole or tortillas from scratch before. They’ve also never used some of the kitchen equipment, like the food processor.
Along with new recipes, they’re are also learning team work and how everyone doing their part can add up to make something great.
When all of the ingredients are prepared everyone grabs a plate and makes their own fajita. They sit down for a meal together and talk about what their favorite part of the day was. Nyamet’s was processing the duck, no surprise there.
“They’re delicious,” says Jordyn, “goose tastes good.” And before everyone washes their plates and cleans up the kitchen, they all head back for seconds.
The Summer Youth Program is a part of Food Matters Manitoba’s Our Food, Our Health, Our Culture program. The goals of the program are to give intercity youth a chance to learn about Indigenous culture, while also learning about the importance of healthy food. Next weeks activity is fishing. Check back with the blog in a week to hear about the next activity.