Cooking/ Food Prep elective for middle schoolers?


#1

I have to teach a middle school elective again this year. I'd like to do something food related, but I will not have use of the school kitchen.

So, I'm thinking of something related to eating healthy, food groups, celebrating the seasons (liturgical seasons included) w/ various recipes, and maybe putting together a small cook book as a final project.

What sorts of (relatively healthy) things can we prepare in my classroom? I have access to a refrigerator or I can bring supplies with me in a cooler.

Creative suggestions??


#2

Fruit kabobs with a yogurt dip
veggie tray with ranch or dill dips or hummus

With both, you could have the things already cut up or maybe teach them how to cut the various fruits/veggies up and arrange in a pleasing way.

Any kind of cold salad could be prepared:
Tuna salad
Chicken salad
macaroni salad
potato salad
cole slaw
pasta salad
Cobb salad
Chef salad

Wrap sandwiches would be good to do, lots of different ingredients would work.
Pudding desserts would also work.

If you could get enough waffle makers (borrow), you could make waffles.
If you could get enough flat electric skillets (again, borrow) you could make pancakes, eggs, bacon, grilled cheese, BLTs, and so on....


#3

Have you thought about making it a class based kind of on "what to fix when mom isn't home." Sandwiches. Food and kitchen safety (don't leave the mayo out all day and then use it again!) Putting together a simple meal using the food pyramid. — just some thoughts


#4

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:3, topic:209284"]
Have you thought about making it a class based kind of on "what to fix when mom isn't home." Sandwiches. Food and kitchen safety (don't leave the mayo out all day and then use it again!) Putting together a simple meal using the food pyramid. — just some thoughts

[/quote]

Wonderful suggestion!

I am encouraging my son to take home ec this year--- it IS needed!


#5

How to plan meals for a week and grocery shop effectively would be a useful skill, too.

Bring in some ads from your neighborhood supermarket and ask the kids to plan a few days' worth of complete meals based on what's on sale.

Teach them how to read nutrition and ingredient labels and how to use that information to plan a meal.


#6

[quote="meltoine, post:5, topic:209284"]
How to plan meals for a week and grocery shop effectively would be a useful skill, too.

Bring in some ads from your neighborhood supermarket and ask the kids to plan a few days' worth of complete meals based on what's on sale.

Teach them how to read nutrition and ingredient labels and how to use that information to plan a meal.

[/quote]

Great ideas! :thumbsup:Also, you could "give" them a certain amount of money to plan a food budget for the week, and have them make a shopping list. Then you could compare and see what they buy to make healthy or thrifty suggestions.

I like the idea of what you can cook when mom is not home too! There are recipes for "real food" that use the microwave, or the toaster oven or George foreman grill out there! :)


#7

Fabulous ideas!! :thumbsup:

Keep them coming!


#8

Check out Catholic Cuisine. They have all kinds of ideas.

catholiccuisine.blogspot.com/


#9

If you can snag a bread machine, try this:
Buy yourself some vital wheat gluten. It's the part of flour that gives the stretch.
Give each student some, add water, stir with a stick until it makes a lump, then knead it. and knead it. and knead it. You wind up with something like a rubber band! It is very cool. Let it sit for an hour or so and knead again....you'll find the texture has changed.

Likewise, you can do experiments with yeast. The reward is the smell of the bread baking.

Electric skillets and griddles are great...if you have ventillation. You don't want to precipitate a fire drill.

You will find there are colors in many vegetables that are acid/base indicators. This shows up in cooking because the difference between a bright appetizing color and a drab nasty-looking color can be the acidity the cook uses.

If you have a refrigerator, you may be interested what salt does to meat. If you put the salt on and let it sit about 3 hours, the juices of the meat come out. If the meat is cooked at this point, it is dry. After about 6 hours, though, the salt and the juice go back into the meat together! The cooked meat will be seasoned throughout and much juicer than a unsalted or recently salted piece. Also, if you brine a piece of meat (soak it in a salt solution) and then rinse it and let it sit in the refrigerator before cooking, you will find both that the meat cooks without expelling its juices so quickly and also that the texture gets "hammier". This is because the salt unwinds the proteins.

The way meat browns also depends on how dry the surface of the meat is. It has to do with the temperature required to carmelize the surface.

There is a lot of science in food. Knowing it can make you a better cook, and can also make remembering the science facts easier.

For more ideas on the science of food, check out a book by Harold McGee, or else check out his website at curiouscook.com/cook/home.php.


#10

How about a discussion on the deception of the food industry and advertising.

Corn Syrup is actually OK... WHAT? Their current ads liken to those of the Sugar Corp. in the '60's...Google it!

I actually saw Froot Loops and all Kellogs brands promoted on TV yesterday as a healthy breakfast.

Talk about WHOLE FOOD cooking. Take trips to the Grocery Store to learn about actualy produce.

Discuss organic pros/cons... etc...

My DH is a pro chef, contact me if you'd like some help!


#11

This is much more of a Spring seasonal activity, but how about a simple Seder meal?


#12

Another good thing to do would be to talk and show actual serving sizes/portions of food. There are kids books comparing fast food: Eat this, Not That for fat/calories.

I'd almost suggest Food, Inc or Supersize Me (both documentaries) but that might be more high school level. My middle schooler has seen most of Food Inc and won't eat fast food anymore.:D


#13

what a terrific idea for a class, and what terrific suggestions

how about breaking down the so-called food pyramid, explore samples of foods that fit into each group, which within the group are healthy and which are not (white bread vs oatmeal for instance).

how about some sessions on planning and packing school lunches?
after school snacks?
grab and go breakfast ideas

do some research into the science of food--how fats and sugars are metabolized, eating to build muscle, ie why bread "rises" and the different types of leaven yeast, baking powder etc., this is the kind of thing that engages boys especially


#14

[quote="puzzleannie, post:13, topic:209284"]
what a terrific idea for a class, and what terrific suggestions

[/quote]

One of the benefits of being in a small Catholic school. :thumbsup:


#15

at our last parish the grandmas came in and taught the middle school CCD classes how to make tamales in Advent, a great inter-generational event. we of course had to use the kitchen, however

when we have retreats or VBS we try to have the snacks tie to the theme, or the scripture stories in some way. perhaps a challenge to kids to come up with foods that match a saint story, scripture event or church year theme.


#16

This guy is really interesting and may have some good resources for Catholic related foods. He is a priest and also a chef!


#17

[quote="puzzleannie, post:15, topic:209284"]
when we have retreats or VBS we try to have the snacks tie to the theme, or the scripture stories in some way. perhaps a challenge to kids to come up with foods that match a saint story, scripture event or church year theme.

[/quote]

That made me think of the book, A Continual Feast.

That, combined with some interesting food science, like this one perhaps, or something from Harold McGee or whatever else appeals to you when you search "food science" on Amazon, would make an interesting curriculum.

What fun you'll have!

Betsy


#18

[quote="baltobetsy, post:17, topic:209284"]
That made me think of the book, A Continual Feast.

That, combined with some interesting food science, like this one perhaps, or something from Harold McGee or whatever else appeals to you when you search "food science" on Amazon, would make an interesting curriculum.

What fun you'll have!

Betsy

[/quote]

I have A Continual Feast. I used it lots when my kids were younger. :) That's how I planned to tie in liturgical seasons. The other one looks interesting.

Getting Fr. Leo to visit would be fun, too.


#19

Oh wow! I love it when grandmas make tamales!:thumbsup:


closed #20

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