It occurred to me that we'd spent so much time peeling vegetables in recent months that it had become a sort of theme for the semester. Why not a peeling contest?
Before it was over, I would purchase 10 pounds of carrots and 15 pounds of potatoes. This is how it works: first, the carrots. Each kid gets a carrot and one chance to peel it while the rest of the class looks on and keeps time. One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand. And so forth. We work our way around the table.
There are skill as well as safety issues involved. Our first rule, above all else is, Don't get blood in the food! Surprisingly, after four classes completed the carrot peeling, we only had one nick. The kids have learned. Peel one half of the carrot first, peeling away from your fingers. Then turn the carrot and peel the other end in the same direction.
I think our fastest time peeling a whole carrot was seven seconds. Peeling potatoes is a different story. Only one contestant out of all four classes was able to peel a potato in less than 20 seconds.
Each winner received his own personal peeler. Then we served pound cake from Whole Foods with strawberries and vanilla ice cream. That's one way to end one heck of a year in "food appreciation."