Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Teacher gives students a taste of history

The Saucy Cook

By Mary Jo Spiegel
Enquirer contributor

Gale Wilson knows cooking is a powerful teaching tool. Although the Taste of Cincinnati isn't until Memorial Day weekend, Wilson's first-, second- and third-graders at North Avondale Montessori, have held their own "Taste of Ohio."

They celebrated Ohio's bicentennial by writing cookbooks and preparing food grounded in the history of the region. Wilson calls it "cognitive learning"- you'll remember history if you can taste it.

Shelly Vosshall in Seattle is still craving a "cheap vegetable soup" recipe using ground beef and a spice packet.

Lois Reid in Mack misses the beef, tomato, noodle and cheese "Johnny Marzetti" dish from Walnut Hills High School.

Remember the former Edwards Manufacturing Company restaurant? Keith Russell in West Chester Township would like a recipe similar to their broccoli lasagna.

She knows third-graders Tommique Battle, Josie Bealle, Anna Gardiner and Jonathan Moskovitz understand what it is like for Mexican immigrants after tasting sopa de lima prepared by classmate Robin Dunning. Family history in third-grader Blair Vonderchek's cookbook made emigrating from Ireland in the 1800s come alive for second-graders Teia Curd, Aliah Davis, Brittany Eppens, Destini Hayes and Jericka Jones.

And Wilson knows that years from now, first-graders Jessica Brown, Julian Cann, Zofia Spiegel, Mackenzie Pantoja, Abayomi Nelson and Raeshawn Brown will recall the German treats third-grader Sheldyn Glover brought in.

Wilson knows this because students return and tell her, "I remembered the food and that's how I remembered the lesson."

• Third-grader Da'Shod Lewis celebrated African-American culinary influences with this cornbread recipe.


1/4 cup lard or shortening, melted

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk or buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease baking pan and place in oven. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add melted lard, egg and milk. Pour batter into hot pan and bake 20 minutes, until tests done. Makes 6 servings.

• Here is a potato salad from first-grader Camille Borders, of Cooking Potatoes with Camille Borders cookbook fame (limited edition; only one copy).

Warm German Potato Salad

10 new potatoes, large dice

6 bacon slices, diced

1/2 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon flour

2 teaspoons sugar

11/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons white vinegar

1/2 cup water

1/8 cup minced fresh parsley

Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until tender. Meanwhile, fry bacon until crisp, remove to drain on paper towels, then toss bacon with cooked potatoes.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from pan. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add flour, sugar, salt and pepper and cook until flour is slightly browned. Pour in vinegar and water and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and pour vinegar mixture over potatoes, sprinkle with parsley and serve warm. Makes 4 servings.

Send food questions, tips, recipe requests and recipes to Saucy Cook, the Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202. E-mail: foodlady@zoomtown .com. Please include name, neighborhood, e-mail and phone number.

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