“[T]he stories that are served with food matter. These stories bind our family together, and bind our family to others.
Stories about food are stories about us – our history and our values.”
-- Jonathan Safran Foer –
We started our week, with bags filled to their maximum capacity with projects and supplies, at RC Mixed School. The students in P4B were happy to hear that their 5th Grade friends at Holy Innocents had sent another creative project. They smiled broadly at the class photo and they searched intensely for the American student who proudly held the project they had just received. The class was amused that “take-away” plates had been transformed (through stickers and colored pencils) into books about favorite foods. They read through the recipes and meals, steeped in family traditions, with a desire to consume and indulge in new ideas and new information. They read quickly with smiles on their faces and then began to create. The students tried, as best they could, working in a foreign language, to describe their most loved meals. Many students outlined the process of collecting the required tools and ingredients as well as the cooking procedures. Some students included the importance of giving thanks before eating.
We visited the students in P4A in the afternoon and shared the work of the 5th Grade students in Ms. Collins’ class at SPARK Elementary School. We described the role and impact that advertisements can have on our eating habits and our awareness of our environments (using Indome, the equivalent of Ramen Noodles, as a local example) as we shared the messages and pictures for healthy eating and Earth stewardship. The students excitedly passed the drawings from SPARK around the room, many students jumping out of their seats to sneak an early peek before the artwork arrived at his/her seat. They smiled brightly as they held the messages in their hands. Many students slipped them into their desks for safe keeping before we could even snap a photo. Their energy and eagerness to create was palpable. Each student filled their whole page with drawings, without the need for encouragement to make things bigger. They drew with care, expressing their love for specific foods and encouraging others to adopt new eating habits.
We realized, after our time with these two busy classes, just how much the stories and images that accompany what we eat truly do matter. Around the world, many hands, minds, and hearts contribute to the growth and production of our food. People cook and eat together as they share stories and anecdotes from their day. Food has always and will always continue to connect us to one another and to the gifts of the Earth.