Category: Baking & Pastry Arts

The Basics of Cake!

Students always want to bake cakes!  Maybe it’s because the cakes they get at home are typically prepackaged or out of a mix!  Don’t get me wrong…those are great once in awhile and have saved me on more than one occasion, when time was at a premium!  However, when talking to students, I get the impression that most only get scratch baked cakes in rare instances or on very special celebratory days!  I guess I was lucky growing up because my family baked cakes often, as desserts were a delicious way to end the evening meal!  Because of this, I was fortunate to be exposed to a variety of different cakes.  The funny thing is that while growing up, I thought there were tons of different types of cakes, but in reality there are only a couple! This lesson focuses on a cake overview of history, types, solving cake problems and includes some labs, focusing on the two basic types of cakes!

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Kids in the Kitchen with Children’s Book Inspired Recipes: A Literary Feast!

It does my heart good to see young children helping out in the kitchen!  Back in the olden days, children learned to help out in the kitchen and even cook and bake at a fairly early age.  Today’s children, not so much! One thing that I have noticed about my incoming 7th graders is that their culinary skills are severely lacking!  Sadly, many students aren’t allowed in the kitchen to cook or experiment with food preparation, others simply can’t be bothered because “convenience” is easier and has become a way of life. Lastly, many may want to learn, but have no role models in their lives that can or will teach them as their parents and even grandparents just don’t cook!  This lesson combines literacy and food prep as students learn the importance and benefits of why young children should be in the kitchen, helping to prepare foods with their parents. It also shows them how creating fun recipes can be an extension of the very books the children love to read.  So, take literacy and food prep to a whole new level and show students how they can enjoy a literary feast!

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Student Led Mini-Lessons for Food PreparationTerms & Kitchen Tools

The trend in education is to create student led activities, projects and presentations! After being inspired by a literary term assignment that my son had to create and teach to his AP Literature class, I thought, why not do this with food preparation terms and kitchen tools, letting students compile the information in a presentation and teach each other the materials!  This easily became a template that I could share with my students via Google Classroom, keeping entire presentations together. Since students had to orally, present their term or tool, I could grade as they presented, making my life easier at the end of the day!  

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Fusion Cooking

Fusion Cooking was a term that I was not very familiar with. I had heard it referenced in an old Learning Zone Express video titled The History of American Cuisine several years ago, but that was the extent of it.  However, it was recently brought up again in an email conversation I was having with Minnesota FACS teacher, Coleen K. Guhl who has supplied the majority of fusion cooking resources below that she has shared with me and/or uses with her students when studying regional foods and cuisine. So, a big “thank you” to Coleen for helping me learn more about this unique blending of regional and global cuisines!

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Food Truck Resources

Food Trucks have been quite popular for the last couple of years with no signs of this trend going by the wayside any time soon!  So if you’re like me and have always wanted to teach this, but didn’t have time to reinvent the wheel, look no further!  Below, you will find a plethora of resources for teaching this topic and project geared to every grade level.  It’s up to you to decide how far you want your students to go with it!

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Teaching About Vegetables

After teaching this unit last year, I knew I had to update my vegetable lessons and activities, especially since we are a 1:1 school with iPads!  So, I’ve spent the better part of six months trying to figure out how to make this unit more engaging, both with and without technology! I am super pleased with the results, as are my students!  These lessons focus on students’ preexisting knowledge of vegetables, the consumption of vegetables (habits as well as reasons to consume), nutritional value and subgroups and vegetable classifications. Because knife skills are used in the lab options, be sure to cover that information prior to the lab(s)

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Plating & Styling Brownies

My students always want to make fancy desserts and who can blame them! This lesson teaches them a little about plating and styling foods, using brownie desserts to help accomplish the mission! After learning about plating and styling desserts, students practice by making, plating and styling brownies. They also must create a feature for a restaurant menu based on their results! I like this lesson, activity and lab because it’s a great mix of activities. Plus, students get to use technology, create food, apply creativity and eat all in one lesson! My students loved this and were super proud of their accomplishments…I’m confident yours will too!

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Spotlight on a FACS Blog: Kayla Pins

Sometimes the non-school related blogs I follow do a blog hopping where they share other people’s blogs. I thought that would be a great idea to do this with Family & Consumer Science teachers who write their own blogs. The featured blog in this post belongs to Kayla Pins, a Health and Family & Consumer Sciences teacher, who hails from Iowa and teaches grades 7-12 at Cascade Jr.-Sr. High School. I email interviewed Kayla some questions about her blog…so read on to learn more and see some of the impressive lessons she has to offer!

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Crostini Appetizers: Mini-Lesson & Lab

You never know when you’re going to need a relatively quick and simple appetizer for entertaining that looks like you’ve spent hours preparing! Crostini to the rescue! I like to teach students that party foods don’t have to be super difficult, expensive or time consuming to pull together. The self-directed mini-lesson provides some background information about crostini and how to make them and then students get to pretend they have to pull together a few crostini appetizers for entertaining, using ingredients they have on hand. The creative possibilities are endless! As a tasty finale, students prepare and sample some hot and cold crostini in the lab! Yum!

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Quick Breads: Lesson & Labs

I have had some requests to share ideas for teaching about quick breads…so, here you go! One thing about teaching quick breads is that there are a plethora of ideas for labs so you can mix it up from one year to the next and secondly, the labs are pretty inexpensive to make so they won’t break your budget! Another thing I like about teaching quick breads is that it’s easy to include math and science concepts into your lessons and labs. Take a look below to see some things I’ve used over the years as well as some links to previous lessons and activities on the website about the topic.

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