A renewed interest in world culture and cuisine has made high school students enthusiastic for cooking classes.
Twenty years ago, home ec classes were the norm. Today, many schools have dismantled home ec rooms. So the old became new again when Eagleview Middle School offered cooking classes in the old home economics room.
Teacher Diane Hathaway cannot resist the chance to teach world culture with cuisine. With more than three decades in the education profession, she is an avid cook and world traveler. Whem she teaches cooking, she addresses the cultural background of foods and history of cultures and how the foods and customs developed. She also focuses on nutrition and health, and builds collaboration among students.
“Through the ‘hook’ of cooking,” Hathaway said, “students are exposed to an amazing array of historical, geographical, political, economic, cultural and religious aspects of a variety of countries.”
Students enjoy the food they prepare together, and some have developed personal aspirations to travel or become a chef.
“I like to look up YouTube videos of Rachael Ray to see how to fix different dishes,” said Justin Graham, an eighth-grader. “I’m thinking about becoming a chef.” Netanya Seale, also an eighth-grader, is more interested in the sweets department. “I like to watch ‘Cupcake Wars’ and ‘Cake Boss,'” she said. “After going to college, I’m planning on going to culinary school.”