Yes, You Read it Right   3 comments

Back in the early ’90’s when I was teaching first grade, Fridays were Cooking Day. I had a convection oven in the class room, (don’t  ask  how I got it!) and the class and I would prepare and cook a snack that went along with whatever unit I was teaching. At Halloween time we toasted the pumpkin seeds we’d scraped from our class jack-o-lanterns. When learning fractions we made pizza and sliced it.

When we did a week’s worth of projects centered around the picture book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, we made – what else but cookies.

mouse

For frosting, there was vanilla icing and red, blue, and yellow food coloring.  I went around with three bottles of food coloring, one each of red, yellow, and blue. The children were given a choice of one drop from each of any two, which they then mixed into the white icing to come up with either orange, green, or purple icing

I like to believe there are about twenty-five 30-year olds walking around San Jose who never forgot their primary and secondary colors.

Not only were these lessons wonderful for demonstrating that food requires preparation of ingredients but were also great hands-on, non-language-based experiences  for a class made up of children whose parents had emigrated from Vietnam, China, Thailand, India, and the Philippines. I was teaching what was called Structured English to children, most of whom were  born here, but while functional in speaking English, it was not their first language, and who often got by faking that they understood more than they actually did.

For the teacher, it was a well-earned “down day” to end the week.,

I bring this up because lately I’ve been hearing how today’s computer-connected, microwave children are disconnected to food production, and really have no idea where fruits and vegetables were before they were frozen or canned. Several urban schools are conducting pilot programs where the children tend a vegetable patch in a rooftop garden or some reclaimed corner of a concrete playground to gain firsthand knowledge.

I’ve also been seeing proof of this need at the checkout of my local supermarket. I can’t count how many times high school and college-aged clerks, when faced with entering the code of  a bunch of fresh spinach, turn to me blank-faced and  ask  “What is this?”

But yesterday  proof stared me in the face as I entered the store. Right there, just  inside the door, in the section that touts local produce, AND MAINTAINED BY PRODUCE CLERKS, I came across this.

DSCN1673

 

That’s right, in case you couldn’t read the sign, here it is again

 DSCN1672

 

OMG, how can you work in produce, and not know the difference between a  radish and a beet!!!!!

I would have laughed if  it weren’t so sad.

Now,  if you’ll excuse me , I have to go and take  an anti-fussiness pill.

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3 responses to “Yes, You Read it Right

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  1. Could ya’ please pass the anti-fussiness pills? I’ve been “down with my back” all weekend from picking peas! By the way, I was thinking…those sure don’t look like our radishes, before I got to the part that said they were beets. I’ve never actually seen a fresh beet before–don’t eat them, so we don’t grow them!

    As for your Friday cooking experiences, that sure brought back some happy memories for me. We used to do the same kinds of things 🙂

  2. Love this, Virginia, brought back sweet memories of Olivia loving that adorable mouse .

    Wish my 1st grade teacher had been as creative. Hell, I’d have settled for nice! Mrs. Crowder remains forever in memory as the terrifying teacher who hit my & my hallway partner’s little six year old hands w/a wooden ruler when we didn’t hear her tell us to drop hands. I can still hear the sound of that ruler whooshing thru the air as it tore into our hands.

  3. We are stuck now. We have the monster technology, and we can’t live with it, and we can’t live without it!

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