My Dad’s Grilled Cheese Happy Place

by Addie, age 10 1/2

Addie with Grilled Cheese for DOOF

You know that feeling of you just went to your happy place I get that feeling every time I eat my dad’s grilled cheese. I don’t know what he does to it, or is it just how he waits till that perfect second to take it off whatever he does to it they taste great.

Addie's Grilled Cheese

All the restaurants just make it too fancy my dad just uses Kraft cheese and whatever bread we have. To me my dad’s grilled cheeses are the best in the universe, but that’s just my opinion I wish I could have them 24-7 that would be awesome, and the best part is my dad likes making them so that’s great sometimes I see him sneak a bite.

I think he should open a restaurant and all they serve are my dad’s grilled cheese, but sadly that can’t happen my dad is already busy enough with work and all that.

Someday I hope that he will tell me his secret so I can make them for my kids when I’m older.

What I’m wondering: what food takes you to your happy place?

Addie with ZeBot

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ZeBig Chill: A Zebra Investigates Freeze-Dried Fruit

ZeBot & ZeBig Chill Snowman in Snow with White Frameby ZeBot Zebra

One thing zebras know is that when we don’t know something we want to know, it’s time to start asking lots of questions.

Case in point: the other day, I overheard some scientific humans discussing “freeze-drying” as a good way to preserve fresh fruit. Supposedly, when you freeze-dry fruit, it will keep its great taste and color for years and years!

Frosty Life Around the Fruit Bowl

Well, I’m a huge fan of fruit, so that sounded totally cool to me (pun totally intended)! But how the heck would a zebra go about freeze-drying?

My zebra buddies and I decided to get some frosty advice from our coolest friends: the SnowDudes and the Penguin Brothers. They said they were pretty sure they’d seen a polar bear freezing-drying his own food, so how hard could it be?

Apples, Polar Bear Style

For the rest of this super-cool story (including amazing food science, a chilled-out video & easy recipe for homemade honey-vanilla frozen yogurt), click here to be transported to ZeBot’s Kitchen!

ZeFrozen Yogurt Close-Up

Wonderful Water Buffaloes!

Ramini Posterby Julianne, age 12

Today we got to see water buffaloes. The farm that we visited makes mozzarella cheese from the water buffaloes’ milk. You would think that water buffalo milk cheese would not taste as good as goat cheese or cow cheese. But really out of all of them, I think buffalo cheese is the best.

Every spring and fall the water buffaloes have babies and the mothers produce the milk that makes mozzarella cheese. Each water buffalo has a name that Craig, the farmer, gives them. I think that it is really sweet.

First-time mothers & calves!

First-time mothers & calves!

There were three pastures. The first pasture in the front was the babies and their mothers. They were mother buffaloes who had their first calves ever. The calves always stay with their mothers and never leave their sight.

The second pasture was water buffaloes who had their calves last fall. The third pasture had water buffaloes who were going to have calves this year.

Hello, I'm a water buffalo!

Hello, I’m a water buffalo!

The third pasture got split up. While we were there, Craig separated the young buffaloes from their mothers. It took about ten minutes. Usually it does not take that long but the cows were there.  A few times one of the mothers ran across the field toward Craig and made a loud honking noise. She wanted to know if her baby was okay.

We got to go into the pen where the young 1-2 year old buffaloes were.

These are 1-2 year old water buffalo.

These are 1-2 year old water buffaloes – don’t you love their hair?

We got to pet them. They loved when you scratched them behind their horns and ears, because their hooves cannot reach there. When you start to pet them, they lick you or chew your clothes.

Petting water buffalo is really fun!

Petting water buffalo is really fun!

They felt kind of rough and their horns were smooth. Their hair was parted down the middle. My favorite buffalo was Bob Dylan because he was the smallest of them all and really cute. His tag was #12. They were so cute. We thought that our friend Laura should take one home with her.

Craig Serving Cheese

This is mozzarella cheese — and Craig is serving it for us!

Craig gave us some samples of the mozzarella cheese to taste. It was a fresh new batch made yesterday at night. It felt soft and squirmy. It tasted creamy and different from other cheese.

Craig told us that a lot of people really want to buy mozzarella cheese from him because his cheese is really good. When you cut the cheese, liquid comes out and that’s hard to make that.

I think it was the best mozzarella cheese I ever had!

They start milking the buffaloes a few weeks after they just had their baby because that’s when the milk is there. When the mothers are milked for the first time, Craig brings their calf with the mother so the mother knows her calf is safe and sound. If her calf was not there she could get worried and not give her milk. That’s bad because they would be behind on milk for a day.

These are the barn cats! Super cute!

These are the barn cats! Super cute!

They milk the water buffaloes in the barn every morning at 8:00. Craig purposely spills some of the milk for the cats. There are about 7 cats who live in the barn. They were feral cats but now they are family.

When new hay comes to the farm, it is filled with mice, so the cats’ job is to catch the mice. The cats know when the hay truck is coming and you can tell because they all leave their beds and go by the back wheels of the truck. When is the hay is taken out of the truck, the cats chase after the mice and eat them. Sometimes they catch garden snakes and birds. Craig does not like when they catch birds because there are feathers all over the place.

Me!

Me!

I think it was an honor to go there and I think I will remember this trip for a long time! Thank you Craig for having us!!!

 Want to learn how the cheese is made? Check out this cool blog by my friend ZeBot Zebra, where he interviews the baby water buffalo at Ramini Mozzarella!

Want to write your own blog? Visit our project page at Green Ribbon Schools to find out how you and your friends can post your cool creative stuff — or email us at kidsfoodblog@gmail.com!

ZeMystery of ZeShoe Pastry

ZeBot and the Shoe Pastries

When my friend Holly told me she was writing a book about Shoe Pastry, I was totally intrigued.

“What kind of shoes would make the best pastry?” I wondered. “And wouldn’t putting shoes in your mouth instead of wearing them on your feet (or in my case, hooves) make you kind of—well, sick?”

ZeBot & His Bowl of Shoes

Since I am a zebra who is supposed to know at least a little about human food by now, I didn’t want to ask those questions right away. After all, Holly Herrick is a famous cookbook author. Instead, I had a great idea!

I have another friend named Holly, who happens to be a super-smart Golden Retriever—and spends a lot of time in the kitchen. I asked her about Shoe Pastry.

Holly with DooF Cap

Holly the Golden Retriever said she’d never tried it, but she’d eaten lots of shoes (including some pretty expensive ones) and they were very tasty.

Still, I wasn’t sure—it just didn’t seem like you could (or even should) turn a shoe into a pastry. So I had an even better idea: I asked Holly the Famous Cookbook Author if I could interview her about shoe pastry. That way, it would make sense to ask lots of questions (even really silly ones)—so that’s what I did!

ZeBot & ZoeBot with Broccoli Choux Pastries

Guess what? It turns out I had the ingredients all wrong! You’ll find the right ones in the video below — and Holly Herrick’s awesome interview & recipe here!

ZePossibilities of Pumpkins

by ZeBot

ZeBot's Pumpkin Patch Buddies

I just made ZeGreatest discovery! You know those orange spheres that are piling up in farmers’ markets and grocery stores? They’re pumpkins! Okay, you probably already knew this, but pumpkins are totally new to me. (Give me a break: I’m a zebra!)

I always figure the best way to find out about something you never knew existed is to do a little detective work. My favorite farmers, food historians and librarians were happy to help out. I even asked a couple of dogs, since if they like something, you KNOW it’s going to be cool.

I found out all sorts of amazing things — and YOU can find them here!

My buddies Spot & Rover give pumpkins a BIG paws up!

My buddies Spot & Rover give pumpkins a BIG paws up!

Explore Planet DOOF!

Planet DooF Team with Y & Z

By Y-SpaceAlien & ZeBot

Exploration comes naturally to me and my ultra-curious zebra buddy, ZeBot. Case in point: we traveled a million, billion, trillion miles across the galaxies to get to Planet Earth.

“Why?” you ask. And I say: “Hey, that’s my name—don’t wear it out!”

Seriously, though, my name actually is Y!

Okay, let’s try that question again: “Why would you guys travel all that way?”

Well, the name of our home planet will give you a clue: there is no such thing as food on Planet DOOF.

If you’re wondering how we get our energy, I’ve got one word for you: Gloop. It’s a petroleum-like substance that’s ingestible, but has no taste, smell, texture, traditions, stories or anything at all that humans would associate with food.

As you can imagine, Gloop is just NOT interesting. And poolging (sort of like what humans call “eating”) takes about a nanosecond. So you can see why we’d be so excited to find out about FOOD!

Y and Z in the GastroPod - Planet DooF

At the moment, ZeBot and I are busy learning everything we can about Planet Earth food by traveling all over the world in our GastroPod, which is a really cool kitchen-rigged time-and-space vehicle that can journey anywhere (and to any time) faster than the speed of light.

While ZeBot and I are space-and-time traveling, some of our fellow DOOFians have arrived on Earth for a super-ultra-mega-important mission: to learn all about Planet Earth food from the very best teachers of all: Planet Earth kids!

So how are Zorp and Carl going to learn all this stuff? The way DOOFians learn everything: by playing games! The name of this intergalactically great game is Planet DOOF—and it’s totally out of this world!!!!!

SusanBAnthony2

Here’s how it works:

Zorp and Carl, two exploration experts from Planet DOOF, have discovered that earthlings are very unique because the foods they eat aren’t found anywhere else in the entire galaxy! Of course, this totally intrigues the DOOFians, so they travel to Planet Earth to explore this mysterious stuff called “food”. On their journey, they encounter a refrigerator and a curious boy who offers to help them build a sandwich from the best and healthiest ingredients they can find. And that’s how it all begins!

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 9.41.21 AM

Planet DOOF is the very first computer game to challenge Planet Earth’s fast-food advertising with characters and scenarios that are as crazy and fun as the ones that sell cheese puffs and sugar-packed cereals on TV. The game was created with huge input from kids—and it will be distributed FREE OF CHARGE to over 200,000 children in 2013-2014!!!

Planet-DOOF-Event

By now, Zebot and I are hoping that you’re as excited as we are about Planet DOOF—and that you’ll be up for celebrating the game launch at the star-studded Terrestrial Gastronomy event this Sunday, September 8th at the Planet DOOF Earth Embassy (440 Brannan Street in San Francisco).

In addition to the game launch, this awesome family event will feature great food from Chez Panisse alum Alan Tangren and a kid-moderated school lunch discussion among food experts Shakirah Simley (Bi-Rite), Jessica Skylar (Revolution Foods) and Esperanza Pallana (Oakland Food Policy Council).

Tickets are $25 for adults (discount code ZORP), $10 for teens (discount code CARL) and FREE for kids 12 and under at planetdoof.eventbrite.com.

3-2-1…BLAST OFF!!!!

ZeBot Planet Doof Logo

Busy Honeybees

honey
by Reilly, age 9

My dad’s friend Bill has bees in hives in his garden. The bees work very hard to make honey.  The honey starts as a flower, and bees come and collect the honey from the flower. The bees create the honey and then the bee keepers collect the honey.

This is a picture I took of how they get the honey out of the honeycomb which is made of wax that the bees also made. Bill put the honey in jars and then gave us some to take home. I put mine on toast that I made myself, so that and my trip to find out where honey comes from is my DIY project for DooF, IACP Kids and Green Ribbon Schools.

If you haven’t had a chance to see busy bees in action, you’re in for a very sweet treat!

Want to write your own blog? It’s easy and lots of fun!

For more info about the DooF Kids’ Food Blogging program, click here!