Holiday Cookbook Stirs Up Pride and History

Holiday Cookbook Stirs Up Pride and History
Posted on 12/21/2021
A Valley Springs Middle recipe project teaches important lessons about history, math, and writing.Featured Photo: Social studies teacher Melanie Berlin uses a globe to discuss history and geography as part of the seventh grade cookbook project.

By: Benjamin Rickert
BCS Communications Dept.

A holiday cookbook project at Valley Springs Middle School is stirring up family pride while also teaching important lessons about history, math, and writing.

Seventh grade social studies teachers challenged students to choose a delicious recipe that held personal significance. Students researched the geographic origins of their recipes and which ingredients were indigenous to those areas. Students quickly learned that world events and the movement of people groups played important roles in introducing ingredients to new areas.

“Why does Canada use so much maple syrup? How does every town in the U.S. have sushi? How did Okra, which is indigenous to Ethiopia, end up in the South?” asked social studies teacher Melanie Berlin. “We looked at how we can use food to study world history and events from all different time periods and parts of the world.”

Berlin showed her students how factors such as climate, trade, immigration, and even dark historical times of war and slavery, caused foods and recipe traditions to move throughout the world.

Student Jeremy Garcia chose to study a dessert called Raspberry Roulade.

“Roulade is a French term, and it is a cake. It means ‘to roll,’” he explained. “I chose it because my brother makes it, and he has been a large influence on my life.”

Classmate Courtney Heath created a recipe for Danish pancakes called aebleskivers.

“It comes from Denmark, and it’s an important part of my family because my grandpa used to live in Denmark,” she said. “We make it for Christmas, Easter, fun family events, and birthdays.”

The recipes from all seventh grade social studies classes will be assembled into a class cookbook in January. Meanwhile, the recipes will be used in math classes to study proportions. In English classes, students will write about their reasons for choosing the recipes. When the book is finished, each student will have a deeper understanding of a recipe they already held dear.

“As we study these foods, we’re asking, ‘What events happen in the world that make people move from one place to another?’” said Berlin.

View this story on the BCS Facebook page to see photos of the students assembling their recipes, as well as some of their finished recipes you can try at home!