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!
On occasion I have shown episodes of Chopped in my classes. My students and I are often amazed at the unusual foods that are selected for the challenges; many students have never heard of. Knowing that these foods piqued my students’ interest, especially junior high, I decided to create an assignment around bizarre mystery foods that could be used as bell ringers, fillers for when class ends early or even as a before holiday or spring break activity to keep students engaged and interested! This assignment not only provides information on curious, bizarre foods, but also helps students navigate the world by showing where in the world these foods originate via Google Maps and helps build confidence during oral presentations as they WOW their peers with unique food curiosities!
Oats are a staple most cooks cannot live without! How many other whole grains pack as much healthful variety into their product? The thing I love about oats is the fact that they can be customized in so many recipes from breakfast foods, baked goods, healthy snacks, and even used in place of bread crumbs when making things such as salmon patties or meatloaf! I wanted my students to see, taste and appreciate the goodness that oats have to offer so when I saw a YouTube ad by Quaker Oats promoting an oats contest, I knew how I wanted to incorporate this information into my grain unit. However, if you don’t teach a unit specifically about grains, no worries as this can easily be incorporated into a breakfast or healthy snack unit!
Want a fun, creative and competitive way to incorporate Halloween themes into your foods class? Check out the project shared by Beth Beattie, a FCS teacher from Missouri who incorporates various parts of Halloween Wars into her Food Science class at Montgomery High School. It started as a way to showcase professions within the program and after viewing Halloween Wars, students decided they wanted to make it a competition!
Have you ever needed a short activity to fill time due to a “surprise” assembly, early dismissal or one class finishing before another? This activity can be stretched or shortened depending on your needs! Hangry is a real concept that most of us have experienced at one time or another and because of this, it can be a very relatable topic for students to talk about and make connections to. I’ve included some activities that work well with this topic, so, pick and choose or do them all!
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!
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!
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!
Years ago, I took a class on edible flowers with my local extension office. Not only was it pleasing to the eye, but it was tastefully pleasant as well! Recently, I was reminded of edible flowers when meeting up with a former student and dear friend; Ashten Swartz. She shared with me that she developed recipes for GRIT magazine around the theme of edible flowers…you’ll find her recipes linked below! Anyway, one thing led to another, and we ended up getting together to experiment with edible flowers in one-pot meals. Ashten developed the below recipes and I must say they looked and tasted amazing! I plan to share these with my students in hopes that they utilize edible flowers in some of their recipes as they experiment in the kitchen.
Face it! There are just some food topics that are difficult to have a lab associated with them. Sometimes it’s because of the cost, the logistics, the equipment or the quantity/variety of foods you’d have to purchase in order to make the lab happen. When this happens, I try to do some kind of unique project in place of the lab. So, below you will see how I make the best of teaching about salad bars with a tablescape project in lieu of an actual foods lab. What are some unique assignments or projects you do in place of labs? Share in the comment section below.