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The ABC's of Food: Teacher's Guide

The ABC'S OF FOOD, A Study of Food as History, Story, Tradition and Nutrition is an ideal source book for lesson enhancers. It contains educational lessons to supplement a curriculum with things to do, places to go, Web sites to visit, brief fascinating histories to learn, and true short stories to read. Include the following categories in your lessons:


American History

Every food listed provides some history of its origin, if it is known, but these special articles are focused on American products especially for the interest of young people.

  • A History of Beans from Prehistory to Now, page 46
  • Cream-filled Cakes (Twinkies), page 81
  • Famous Candies, page 83
  • Coca-Cola, page 116
  • Dr. Pepper, page 168
  • The Joy of Jelly Belly, page 285
  • History of American Kitchens, page 291
  • Maxwell House, page 319
  • The Boston Molasses Flood, page 330
  • American Pies, page 384
  • The Corner Grocery Store, page 246
  • Soda Fountains, page 465
  • Soft Drinks, page 467
  • Gingerbread, page 233
  • Granges, page 240
  • Chiffon Cake, page 101
  • Salt Fish, page 444
  • Xenia, Ohio, Colonial Wild West, page 548

World History

The history of the world is a history of food. What were the great explorers looking for when they sailed the world? Food. Kingdoms rose and fell because of food supply. What was more valuable in the medieval world than gold? Spices. What did New World settlers want more than anything? Land to grow food.

  • Bananas, page 38
  • Beans: A Historic Timeline, page 46
  • Please Pass the Curds (Cheese), page 147
  • Butter to Margarine, page 314
  • Marmalade, page 317
  • Peanuts, page 370
  • Potatoes in Peace, War and Famine, page 40
  • Riddle of the Pretzel, page 410
  • Salt, We Can't Live Without It, page 442
  • Rice, page 431
  • Wedding Cakes, page 539
  • Horse's Hoof Dessert (Gelatin), page 229
  • From Tortilla to Toast (Bread), page 62
  • Breakfast, page 65
  • Chocolate, page 103
  • Cookbooks, Old and New, page 120-122
  • Doughnuts, page 164
  • Kitchen History, page 291
  • Highlights of Food Development in History, page 217
  • Medieval Feasts, page 320
  • Sausages, page 448
  • Sugar, page 493
  • Ice Cream, From Kings to Kids, page 274
  • Ham, page 253

Language Arts

The entire book is a dictionary of food and cooking terms. Many terms that are common around the kitchen make no sense at all to the newcomer. How does one "fold" eggs, for example. How did certain foods get their odd names? Why is a raisin called a "raisin" when it's actually a shrunken fruit? Also, many food terms have worked their way into the language with meanings that have nothing to do with food.

  • When Food Isn't, An Essay on Food and Language, page 209
  • How Pumpernickel Got Its Name, page 417
  • "Eat Crow?", page 142
  • Funny Names for Homely Dishes, page 155
  • A Food Quiz, page 215
  • Funny Foods, page 211
  • Ham Actor?, page 253
  • Pasta, the Meaning of the Names, page 365
  • Glossary of Pickles, page 380
  • Glossary of Olives, page 348

Gardening

Many gardening projects can be started indoors so you can teach gardening even in the winter.

  • Grow a Native American Garden, page 224
  • Flower Pot Gardening, page 225
  • Hurray for Herbs, page 261
  • Hydroponics, page 271
  • Grow a Bean in Your Pocket, page 304
  • Grow a Tropical Tree from Throwaways, page 520
  • What is Organic?, page 352
  • Pesticides, page 377
  • Poisonous Plants, page 395
  • Luther Burbank, page 73
  • Chili Farming in New Mexico, page 102
  • Grow a Grapefruit, page 243
  • Grow a Mango Tree, page 312
  • Organic Gardening, page 353
  • Grow a Quince Tree, page 422
  • Grow a Pie Plant, page 429
  • Xochimilco's Floating Gardens, page 549

Health and Safety

The kitchen is a dangerous place. Beginner cooks need special advice in food preparation and handling.

  • The Diet Pyramid, page 160
  • The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, page 161
  • General Flatus, page 204
  • Safe Handling of Food, page 220
  • Read the Label, page 298
  • Preservatives, page 407
  • Additives, page 8
  • Healthy Eating, page 159
  • Pellegra, the Scourge of the South, page 373
  • Picnic Food Safety, page 383
  • Poisonous Plants, page 395
  • Spoiled or Just Gross?, page 481
  • The Food and Drug Administration, page 212

Nutrition

Most of the foods listed have their nutritional facts noted. In addition, there are articles of special interest to kids and their parents.

  • Should Kids Diet?, page 157
  • Food Pyramids, page 160, 214
  • Dietary Fiber, page 195
  • Read the Labels, page 298
  • Minerals, page 326-484
  • Iron, page 280
  • What is "Natural" Food?, page 338
  • Nutrition, Like Money in the Bank, page 341
  • Why You Need Vitamins, page 530
  • Cola Drinks, page 116
  • Eggs and Cholesterol, page 178
  • Finicky Eaters, page 198
  • The Fat War, page 316
  • Sports Nutrition, page 483
  • Seafood is Brain Food, page 453
  • Scurvy, page 453
  • Figure Your Basal Energy Expenditures, page 30
  • Soy, page 474
  • Vegetable Cocktail, page 527

Myths and Legends

Almost all foods come with some colorful legend or mythology and in addition, we have special stories and articles about some of the most common and appealing.

  • Sally Lunn, page 439
  • Finn McCool and the Salmon, page 441
  • Chocolate, page 103
  • Johnny Appleseed, page 25
  • Why Johnny Belches, page 52
  • Flat Dumplings, 171
  • Witches and Eggs, page 175
  • Kah Lituya, page 201
  • The Drinking Gourd Song (from the Underground Railroad), page 239

Table Manners

From the Shaker Villages of Colonial America comes a poem learned by Victorian children that is still useful in the 21st Century.

  • Table Manners, page 500

Geography

The American table is a wonderful place to begin a study of local, national, and world geography because everything on our plates has come from its own special place. Some foods can only be grown in certain places. The need for food was the primary cause for ancient man to travel and explore. The single most motivating force in the exploration of the seas and the New World was the need for spices.

  • Hunting the Elusive Alaskan Abalone, page 5
  • The First Thanksgiving (It Wasn't in New England), page 509
  • Shaki Tukra, page 156
  • Nicaraguan Bird Dogs, page 170
  • Colonial Kitchens, page 291
  • Great Boston Molasses Flood, page 330
  • The Potato, page 401
  • Sicilian Feast, page 185
  • Market Day in England, page 187
  • Highlights in Food Development in World History, page 217
  • Soul Food, page 470
  • Spices, East and West, page 480
  • Breadfruit, page 65
  • Pasta, Is It Italian?, page 363
  • International Favorite Soups, page 472

Regional Foods and American Geography

Every region of the world has its specialties. In the United States, we have regional favorite recipes growing out of the foods produced in that area. Students can learn about their own local produce and cooking styles as well as "travel the USA" via food. Learn about the Slow Food Movement, page 462, the "Noah's Ark of Regional Foods."

  • Alaskan Abalone, page 5
  • Arkansas Bacon, page 33
  • Bunuelos, page 73
  • Catfish Farms, page 93
  • Colonial Cooking, page 118
  • Pucker Berries, page 136
  • California Cuisine, page 146
  • Ethnic Kitchens, page 291
  • Mice for Dinner, page 324
  • Regional Pies, page 384
  • Banana Plant, page 39
  • Peanuts, page 370
  • Slow Food (Home Cooking), page 462
  • Walnut Time in the Ozarks, page 56
  • Mudbugs, page 139
  • Czech Foods in Wisconsin, page 150
  • Pig's Feet, page 189
  • Bayou Corne, page 199
  • Funny Foods, page 211
  • Slugburgers, page 256
  • Burger Recollections (Texas), page 256
  • Hangtown Fry, page 258
  • Kolacky, page 297
  • Little Stuffed Pillows, page 393
  • PowWow, page 405
  • Pralines, page 406
  • Puddings, British or American?, page 413
  • Ozark Foods, page 357
  • Tortilla, page 516
  • Vaca Y Quesadilla, page 525
  • Wild West, Colonial, page 548
  • Zepolle, page 554

Places to Visit - in Person or Online

Almost all the museums and tourist attractions listed have Web addresses where children can learn a great deal without leaving home. These are just a few samples in our book:

  • The National Agricultural Library, page 10
  • World Aquaculture Society, page 25
  • National Apple Museum, page 19
  • Luther Burbank Gardens, page 73
  • Catfish Farms, page 93
  • Cereal City, page 95
  • Hershey Museum, page 105
  • Kitchen Museum, page 294
  • Corn Palace, page 132
  • Epcot, page 244
  • Food Museum, page 219
  • Sugarmill Farms, page 313
  • Dude Farms, page 186

Festivals

  • American Food Festival Sampler, pages 191-194

Technology

Every day brings new discoveries in food science and technology. Some of the modern innovations are discussed in the following articles for kids:

  • DriWater, page 169
  • Biotechnology for Food, page 53
  • Broccoflower, page 69
  • Epcot, page 244
  • Hydroponics, page 271
  • Preserving, page 409

Famous People (Biographies)

  • Luther Burbank, Gardener to the World, page 73
  • The Men Who Changed Breakfast, page 66
  • Famous Names in Candy, page 83
  • Elsie the Cow, page 183
  • Cracker Jack, page 135
  • Peach Melba, page 369
  • Borden, The Crazy Inventor, page 183
  • Euelle Gibbons, page 232

Math

Adjusting recipes to make more or less requires practical math skills. Any recipe can be used to teach weights and measures, multiplication, and fractions.

  • Colonial Measures Adapted, page 119
  • Find Your Daily Calorie Intake, page 30

Biology

Animals and insects play an enormous role in bringing food to the table.

  • Bees, page 268
  • Bats, page 44
  • Bugs to Eat, page 276
  • Alligator Steak, page 12
  • An Entomologist's Menu, page 278
  • Dormice, page 163
  • Ostrich, page 354
  • Rattlesnake Roundup, page 426

Botany

Flowers and weeds are among the many plants we eat and use for medical reasons. Some may be in your backyard.

  • Flowers, page 207
  • Herbs, page 261
  • Nonna's Weed Feed, page 88
  • Crystallized Blossoms, page 143
  • Hurray for Garlic, page 226
  • Wild Foods, page 232
  • Peppermint Soap, page 376
  • Poisonous Plants, page 395
  • Tommy's Toes, page 512
  • Mushrooms, page 334
  • Wild Rice, page 545

Science

Cooking is a science. Recipes are formulas. What better way to teach science than in the kitchen? Every recipe is a potential science lesson. In addition, we have some easy kitchen experiments for junior scientists.

  • Racing Raisins, page 424
  • Slice an Apple and See the Size of the World, page 23
  • April Fool's Banana, page 39
  • Make Butter at Home, page 76
  • Preserving Papers, page 111
  • Colonial Measures Adapted, page 119
  • Drying Fruits, page 167
  • Egg in a Bottle Trick, page 177
  • Egg, Is it Raw?, page 177
  • Food Magic, page 219
  • Substitutions Chart, page 490
  • Wonderful Vinegar, page 529

Strange But True

  • Water, page 535
  • Watermelon Canteens, page 536
  • Watermelon Snow, page 538
  • California 49ers and their Spirituous Libations, page 543

Art and Antiques

"Presentation is everything," it's been said. Cooking is a science, but presentation is an art. Children adore playing with play dough so why not try real dough and let them learn to decorate foods. With technology changing rapidly, kitchen tools are collectable.

  • Flowers as Food, page 207
  • Garnishes, page 228
  • Cake Decorating, page 539
  • Bean Projects, page 48
  • Granddad's Lunch Box, page 308
  • Spoons, page 482
  • Teapots, page 507

Education

  • So You Want to be A Chef?, page 98
  • Cooking Schools, page 126
  • Cookbooks, pages 120-122

Activities and Games

There is no end to what you can do with food as recreation, but we have a few ideas to prime your creative pump.

  • Taste Tests, page 13
  • Candy in Your Family History, page 85
  • Candy Categories Game, page 85
  • Egg Toss, page 176
  • Secrets of Perfect Popcorn, page 399
  • Ethnic Food Party, page 297
  • Grow a Lima in Your Pocket, page 304
  • Rainy Day Picnic, page 382
  • National Salad Head Competition, page 438
  • Make Old Fashioned Sausage, page 448
  • Flying Pie Tins, page 387
  • Cola History From Your Grandparents, page 469
  • Make Sourdough, page 474
  • Spice Blends You Can Make, page 478
  • Make Watermelon Snow, page 539
  • Bird Suet Feeder, page 492
  • Tasting Parties, page 162
  • Make Vanilla Sugar, page 526

Crafts

Need a quick project? Make things from what you have handy at home.

  • Library Paste, page 302
  • Play Dough, page 392
  • Herbs to Make Gifts, page 263
  • Cosmetic Herbs, page 262
  • Gorgeous Gourds, page 238
  • Cornucopia, page 473
  • Pumpkin Centerpiece, page 416
  • Pretty Petite Pumpkins, page 416

Fiction

For the youngest students, we have stories about food, some just for a giggle. All contain lessons along with the fun.

  • The Phantom Bakers of Barnaby Street, page 126
  • Elephant Stew, page 180
  • Swedish Christmas Story, page 189
  • Bayou Corne, page 199
  • Gruel and Unusual Punishment (Oatmeal), page 345
  • Slimy Little Green Balls of Mush, page 367
  • Little Dreamer's Hideaway, page 430
  • Grandma's Hot Chocolate, page 106
  • Dragon Stew, page 322
  • Watermelon, Sweet Watermelon, page 537

Holidays

In addition to holidays, see festivals, page 191.

  • The First Thanksgiving, page 509
  • Seder Meal, page 455
  • Tamales for Christmas, page 503
  • Whaling Day, page 541
  • Bunuelos, page 73
  • Easter Rabbit Wizardry, page 105
  • Rolling Eggs at Easter, page 177
  • Hot Cross Buns, page 270
  • Pfeffernusse, page 379

Fish Tales

No discussion of food could be without its fabulous fish tales.

  • Carp Delight, page 91
  • Hunting the Elusive Alaskan Abalone, page 5
  • Kah Lituya and the Earthquake, page 201
  • Catching Big Bertha, page 250
  • Fishing for Northern Pike, page 388
  • Halibut Trivia, page 250

Tips

For a sampling of the many cooking tips you'll find:

  • Crockpot Cooking, page 141
  • Dry Bean Tips, page 166
  • Dried Fruit, page 167
  • To Avoid General Flatus, page 206
  • How to Eat An Artichoke, page 26
  • Make Your Own Baking Mixes, page 34
  • On Building a Gingerbread House, page 235
  • Iron Cookware, page 281
  • Noodle Eating Tips, page 340
  • Perfect Popcorn the Old Fashioned Way, page 399
  • Perfect Rice, page 432
  • Guide to Spices, page 479