The California Department of Education has made our book, A World of Good Tastes! A Classroom Cooking Manual, by Georgeanne Brennan and Ann M. Evans. This cooking manual, is available free through a link on the CDE e-tool kit for FRESHMeals at School.
The Manual is designed to assist classroom teachers and after-school staff in teaching students to cook from scratch by using raw, seasonal produce. The recipes we developed for the book incorporate five broad flavor profiles that represent California’s ethnic diversity. Each recipe has an extensive introduction with historical, culinary, or botanical information about the particular dish or culture making it easy for educators to discuss the food with their students.
The recipes are organized by seasons. Each season has Salads, Main Dishes, Soups, Dessert and Beverages — all child friendly, flavorful and healthy. For example, for dessert in fall, we created a Sweet Potato Pie.
The recipes are family style, so you can cook them in the classroom or an after school program, and then send them home with the kids. They will love showing their parents something new. The recipes are easy to scale up to 50 and 100 and put into NutriKids Format so that the school district kitchens and cafeterias can be a part of the comprehensive learning experience as well.
The manual is designed for educators to use with students in grades four through six in either a hands-on or demonstration format. We have instructions on how to conduct the class and basic equipment needed, and most importantly, there are head notes full of background information for the teacher/instructor to use in teaching the kids more about the ingredients and culture the recipe originates from.
Why five broad international flavor profiles? Throughout California’s history, immigrants from around the world have come to California, as well as other parts of the United States, to search for gold, to work in railroad construction, in the mines, in the timber and fishing industries, shipyard construction, and in the vast agricultural fields and orchards. People have also left their native countries to California and the United States driven by war, famine and persecution, and to pursue opportunities or join their immigrant families. They have brought with them the flavors of their homelands and often adapted these foods to their new life in California and the United States.
Cooking, and then eating together, enriches the experience of food preparation. As students and adults eat together the foods they have prepared, they have an opportunity to discuss the flavors and the cultures that are represented by the foods. Students can talk about their family food stories and favorite food traditions. In this way, students and their families become an important resource for cultural education in the classroom and in after-school programs.
We hope you enjoy this new resource.