“Taste Week is an opportunity to remind students to be open minded- something that can be carried over with foods, culture, or anything. This year, we did blind tastings and I saw my students really appreciate use of other senses besides their vision to experience foods and flavors. This discouraged them to have preconceptions about new or different foods before they actually tasting them. I know students enjoy these activities, and for teachers, Taste Week is a good opportunity to connect the culture of this tradition with my class curriculum”.
Cindy C., 5th Grader ISTP Teacher
(Below letter from Susan Brooks, English Teacher)
I am a teacher at the International School of the Peninsula in Palo Alto and had the opportunity to participate in last year’s Taste Week at our school. Our school community was very involved with cooking, displaying, talking about, serving, eating, tasting, and generally having a wonderful time around food. Teaching within many cultures at our school, food is a cultural bridge for the students, parents, and teachers.
To enjoy food is a very big part of our international school’s culture. Last year Taste Week was successful in many ways. Seeing food being prepared, being a part of the cooking experience, smelling the scents from our kitchen, which just happen to linger by my third grade classroom door, and seeing the visual beauty of food is a huge way of teaching culture, teaching life long skills, and life long appreciation of food and the people that take care to prepare and to serve that food.
In addition to physically sitting down with the children and sampling some tasty morsels popping out from the kitchen, Taste Week was a springboard for teachers to bring food experiences into the class. Teachers at our school have children participate in cooking experiences during class sessions as well as during after school sessions. Cooking to demonstrate fractions, to use measurement skills, to use prepositions, to create directions, and to do a number of things is a typical hands-on way that our teachers use to teach a variety of things from math to language arts. So when Taste Week was presented to us, it was easy to jump into the “kitchen” again with cultural goals.
Each year in my third grade class, the students read a mystery story about a house that appears to be haunted because of all the odd pounding sounds. As it turns out, the sounds are coming from the kitchen as an old woman mixes, kneads, shapes, and bakes some bread. The children and I then prepare some bread in my bread machine, and we listen to it pound and thump for hours before smelling and then tasting the bread. This last year, this story happen to be on my schedule right around the time of Taste Week. Finding things that connect to each other delight teachers and help children learn. As a follow up to the making of the bread, the children selected a country to study. They made a mini oral report about the country and brought in artifacts along with a bread to sample from the country they studied. Students decorated their desks to display their breads well, and some wore simple costumes of the country. Then the children went from classroom to classroom reading about each country and tasting the breads from ryes to sour doughs. Breads Around the World
has become a sequel to Taste Week in the third grade classrooms. At our international school, languages are only a part of what we teach and learn. We teach and learn about traditions and about the cultures of many countries. Food as it turns out is one of the main cultural aspects of a country. So at the International School of the Peninsula, we look forward to another Taste Week where our school community can enjoy food as if we were going to a play. Food is not only to be eaten, but it is to be displayed, dramatized, visualized, smelled, and ah yes, tasted.
Sincerely, Susan Brooks, English Teacher