Cooking is relaxing, sparks imagination, builds self-esteem, teaches cooperation, and also food has very rich cultural meaning.
Cooking in the EFL classroom is extremely popular among adults and kids alike because it is lots of fun and connects students on a primal level. Are you planning a cooking class? Here is something to take into account:
Factors to consider when choosing a recipe
Students’ dietary restrictions and preferences – if you’re teaching YL it’s a good idea to send home a note asking parents for information on children’s food allergies and predilections, for example.
Prep time – What are your lesson aims? How much of your lesson is going to be spent on reading skills and clarifying new vocabulary? How much time will there be for the hands-on period? How will instructions be delivered? What might go wrong?
Prep challenge level – try and choose a safe recipe that students will be likely to succeed in preparing: in the end, everybody’s cupcake should look equally fluffy and taste fairly yummy.
Cultural norms – let’s try not to make vegan children eat meat, shall we?
Lexical relevance – you’re working on a unit about fast food, it makes little if no sense to have students prepare an ordinary fruit salad.
Going for the cool recipe
I beg you to let go of that secret family cookie recipe you’ve been using for ages! How many times have you printed it out? So many it’s no longer secret! Once in a lifetime, (for god’s sake!) go for the cool recipe.
There is a number of geeky cookbooks with more relevant, relatable, fun recipes to cook than popcorn. My favorite are listed below:
The Geeky Chef Cookbook by Cassandra Reeder – The book is organized in chapters that cover beverages, snacks, soups, cakes and desserts inspired by Futurama, The Legend of Zelda, Discworld, The Lord of the Rings, Adventure Time and Harry Potter to mention a few. The author blogs at The Geeky Chef and you can find many recipes there.
A Feast of Ice and Fire by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel & Sariann Lehrer – other than an introduction to the basics of the Game of Thrones kitchen, the recipes are introduced by region: The Wall, The North, The South, King’s Landing, Dorne and Across the Narrow Sea. For a glimpse of the book content, you can check this Game of Thrones Recipes board on Pinterest. A google search will also return several articles on this cookery.
An Unexpected Cookbook by Chris-Rachael Oseland – the book chapters couldn’t have been titled outside of The Hobbit original list of meals: Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea and Dinner (or Supper, or both). The author blogs at Kitchen Overlord, where you can find a variety of recipes. (Doctor Who lovers might enjoy Ms. Oseland’s book Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorzied Whovian Cookbook)
Literature nerds will definitely find comfort in these three titles
and these two fascinating websites
For YL, you might want to try Disney-themed recipes to which I recommend this article, but I’m confident a quick google search will return many other engaging ideas.
So, that’s plenty of ideas, isn’t it? Next time you’re teaching a cooking class, go geek.