The school where I teacher "food appreciation" classes has asked me to consider teaching on a stepped-up schedule during the summer.
Up to now, my focus has been mainly on elementary school children enrolled in the after school program. The classes are informal. I've had free range over food topics, from making healthy, whole-grain muffins to putting up our own pickles and sauerkraut to baking macaroni and cheese by way of exploring nutrition labeling.
We always include a story reading that somehow links to our food topic, after which we get to eat whatever we made that day.
The summer clases will be something different. I'll be teaching middle-school kids aged 11 to 14, with two one-and-one-half-hour "major" classes each day and two one-hour "minor" classes. It's been suggested that the "major" classes be devoted to weightier subjects such as health and nutrition, while the "minor" classes could consist more of making fun, summer foods such as ice cream and sorbets.
As far as I can tell, this is something new for the school and I hardly know where to begin. There are so many great issues to tackle. The rise of processed foods. Industrial agriculture. Food production and the environment. The surge of local foods. The meaning of organic. We could spend days just exploring the Safeway across the street and dissecting supermarket design.
Teaching a cooking class during the summer opens whole new vistas of possibilities that don't really exist during the school year. All that fresh produce, fruits and berries, herbs. We could do a whole class just on grilling foods--if they'd let me.
I'm starting an outline now. But I wonder what readers think. If you had carte blanche to design food courses for kids, what would you do?