Moroccan Spices

Moroccan Spices (1)

This lesson was a culinary extension to the recipes in the Morocco kit from Raddish Kids. Travis got to pretend to be a spice seller at his very own bazaar! For a kindergartner, the lesson was a mix between learning and sensory play (you’ll notice my toddler was eager to leap in, too). Older kids can take the lesson more seriously, researching spice blends from around the world, grinding their own spices, and using exact proportions to create their own blend.

First up was being a scent detective! I poured eight common Moroccan spices into small cups and gave them to Travis one at a time. I labeled each cup just so I wouldn’t forget what was what!

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He loved smelling each, summoning up the vocabulary to describe it, and adding tasting notes and color to the provided chart.

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He knew three of them without needing to be told (cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper), and I challenged him to think of why he knew these three. He correctly realized it’s because we cook with them often, whereas the other spices were less familiar!

 

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The lesson plan then included facts about spices, where they come from, the health benefits of spices, and information on common blends like Italian seasoning or ras el hanout.

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That was all a bit over Travis’s head; instiead, it was time to create his own blend! Mostly he pretended to be a spice merchant, and there was lots of spooning onto paper plates, or pouring in and out of cups. If he gave a spice a thumbs up, we added 3 teaspoons to a glass jar. If he didn’t like it, we added only 1 teaspoon, and if he rated it a medium, we added 2 teaspoons.

In this way we ended up with:

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Well, wouldn’t you know, he liked it!

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We creamed 1 tablespoon spice mix into 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter for a spread that worked nicely on homemade bread or crackers. We might try it as a dry rub on tofu, next!

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A fun book to read together was My Five Senses, by Aliki. We finished with a virtual trip to a Moroccan bazaar.

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Older kids can extend the lesson plan by gifting their spice blend along with a recipe, or researching how spices are grown and harvested.

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