Monday, July 12, 2021

7 Ways for Using Historical Cookbooks to Teach Social Studies

 "Food is everything we are. It's an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma.It's inseparable from those from the get-go.
-- Anthony Bourdain"

Like many other people, I found myself spending more time in the kitchen during the past 18 months, and have the extra pounds to prove it.  But although I was never interested in learning how to cook when I was a child, ever since I bought 2 historical cookbooks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art many decades ago, I have been interested in the cuisines of other cultures and time periods.

Over the years, I’ve become more and more interested in food history, to the extent that I wrote a master’s thesis on how to use food to teach students about African and Asian cultures.  Whenever I have the opportunity, I buy cookbooks showcasing food from other time periods and cultures.  I also subscribe to some blogs that write about food in particular historical periods.

Why Use Historical Cookbooks
I think food is a great way to get students interested in history!  I cooked food in my middle school ESL Social Studies classes when teaching my students about China (see my recipe for glutinous rice balls for Chinese New Year.  When teaching about the indigenous cultures of the Americas before Columbus and when teaching about the 13 Colonies, I shared 2 cookbooks with my students that had recipes from those times.

Students often have a hard time understanding the purpose of learning what happened centuries and millennia ago – at least, my students did.  But incorporating food into my lessons made history more accessible, because what middle school kid doesn’t like to eat?

A display of the 18 historical cookbooks in the collection of The ESL Nexus
Historical Cookbooks in the collection of The ESL Nexus
I’m going to share my historical cookbooks and add the time periods they refer to, since it’s not always obvious from the title.  Many but not all of them have adapted the recipes for the modern-day kitchen so it's easy to make them.  But first, I’m going to offer some suggestions on how you can use historical cookbooks when teaching Social Studies.

7 Ways to Use Historical Cookbooks in Your Teaching
* Cook a dish from the cookbook.  This is the easiest and most obvious way to use a cookbook.  Just make sure that you are allowed to share food with your students and always, always check that students aren’t allergic to any of the ingredients.  After tasting it, have students write a paragraph describing their reaction: What did they eat (introduce the topic)?  What was in it (the ingredients)?  What did it taste like (use sensory details)?  Did they like it (offer an opinion)?  Would they eat it again (write a conclusion)?  Students can share their reactions with their classmates if you wish.
* When teaching about a particular time period, create a display of books related to that topic and include cookbooks.  This is what I did when teaching early U.S. history.
* Photocopy a recipe for a main dish, or take a photo of it and share it digitally, with your students.  Discuss the ingredients used in it and how they differ from a similar dish the students are familiar with.  For example, share a recipe for a pie from a cookbook and compare and contrast that recipe with one you use yourself (if you bake pies).  As a follow up, you can have your students summarize the similarities and differences in a piece of writing.
* Photocopy a recipe for a main dish, or take a photo of it and share it digitally, with your students.  Have your students research the ingredients: Where they are grown (are they native to the country/culture using them or were they brought there as a result of trade), how much the ingredients cost to purchase, whether the ingredients were available to all social classes or eaten primarily by rich or poor people, if people still eat those ingredients today or if they are no longer popular.
* Divide your class into small groups.  Give each group a different recipe.  Have the students find the scientific names of ingredients that are plants – vegetables, fruits, spices – and draw pictures of them.  Students can also sort all the ingredients of the recipe into categories: animal, vegetable, fruit, spices, other.
* Display a recipe to the whole class.  Break down how the recipe is written: Does it have a separate section for the ingredients?  Does it indicate exactly how much of an ingredient to use (ie, does it say ¼ tsp or just add some salt)?  Is it written step-by-step or as on long paragraph?  After discussing how the historical recipe was written, compare and contrast that with a modern recipe.  You can have a class discussion first and then ask students to write something, to give them some writing practice.
* Display a few recipes from a cookbook from the time period you’re teaching about.  Discuss the format of the recipes with your class.  Then put students in small groups and have them name their favorite dish/food.  (Put students of mixed language proficiency levels in each group.)  Tell them to choose 1 of the dishes/foods.  Then tell students to write a recipe for it as if they were writing during the historical time period they are learning about.  English Language Learners who are not as proficient as other students can illustrate the recipe.  When the recipes have been written and illustrated, each group can share their recipe with the class.

18 Historical Cookbooks and the Time Periods They Address
(This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  That means that I make a small commission if you purchase any of the products listed below but it's at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!)
* The Oldest Cuisine in the World: Cooking in Mesopotamia – Mesopotamia  (It’s a scholarly book rather than a cookbook but it is THE authoritative resource on food in Ancient Mesopotamia and a few recipes are included.)
* Tasting the Past: Recipes from the Stone Age to the Present – recipes from the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Middle Ages, Elizabethans, Civil War, Georgians, Victorians, World War II, the post-war years in Great Britain
* To The King’s Taste: Richard II’s Book of Feasts – late 14th century England; the Peasant’s Revolt  (This is one of the books that got me interested in food history.)
* To the Queen’s Taste: Elizabethan Feasts & Recipes – Elizabethan Age in England; the Renaissance  (This is the other book that got me interested in food history.)
* American Indian Cooking before 1500 – recipes from Indigenous cultures of the United States  (This cookbook is aimed at children, not adults.)
* Mrs. Cromwell’s Cookbook – Oliver Cromwell; English Civil War (Available from a museum in England.)
* Recipes from a 17th Century Kitchen – England and the American Colonies (This is a 41-page booklet -- on Amazon, there is no cover image or any comments; I bought my copy at Plimoth Plantation but it’s no longer available in their online shop.)
* Colonial Cooking – the 13 Colonies in America  (It’s aimed at children, not adults, and has a different cover from my copy.)
* Plimoth Plantation: 1627 Autumn Recipes – Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts  (Available in the online shop of the Plimoth Plantation website.)
* Dinner with Tom Jones: Eighteenth-Century Cookery – early 18th century England, the Georgian Age
* Outlander Kitchen 1: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook – mostly recipes from Scotland, France, and North Carolina in the late 18th century; Jacobite history
* Outlander Kitchen 2: To the New World and Back Again – The Road to Revolution; Scottish history in America; a few recipes connect to Jamaica
* Revolutionary Recipes – the Revolutionary War in America
* The Unofficial Poldark Cookbook: 85 Recipes from Eighteenth Century Cornwall – England after the American Revolution; the Georgian Age; recipes differentiated by social class
* Cowboy Cookin’: Authentic Recipes from the Campfire – Old West in the U.S.; cattle drives in the West
* Sowbelly and Sourdough: Original Recipes from the Trail Drives and Cow Camps of the 1800s -- Old West in the U.S.; 19th century U.S.
* Arizona Territory Cookbook – Southwest U.S. in the late 19th century; Arizona history
* The Appledore Cookbook – late 19th century U.S.; 19th century New England history  (I have no idea why someone gave this a 1-star rating on Amazon but I have made a few things from this cookbook and I like it a lot.)

You can probably find a cookbook for any historical period you are teaching about; these are just the cookbooks that I’ve acquired over the years.  There are also lots of online blogs and websites about cooking in various time periods and many include recipes adapted for the modern kitchen.

If you’ve never used food to get your students interested in learning history, I highly encourage you to do so.  Bon appétit!


Monday, June 14, 2021

14 Resources for Gay Pride Month: A Resource Round-Up for Educators

"We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state
of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity."
-- George Takei

George Takei has done many wonderful things in his life, such as playing Sulu on Star Trek: The Original Series and shedding light on the shameful treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.  He is also a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ people and gay rights.  If you don’t follow him on Twitter, you should!

Learn about 14 organizations, books, a video & a TpT resource that help students and teachers learn about LGBTQ+ issues and Gay Pride Month
Find a TpT Resource for ELLs & other students HERE; source: The ESL Nexus

June is Gay Pride Month so in this blog post, I’d like to provide a round up of resources you can use in your classroom or when talking with students about LGBTQ+ issues.  The list below includes 9 organizations, 2 books, 1 video, and a TpT resource that I created.  Please click on their names for get more information about each one.

(The links to the books are affiliate links.  As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  That means that I receive a small commission if you buy any of the books but it is at no extra cost to you.  I appreciate your support -- thank you!)

ORGANIZATIONS (in alphabetical order) 

* Everyone is Gay: Website with info about how to support LGBTQIA young people.

* GLAAD: Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation: Works to overcome prejudice and discrimination against LGBTQ people.

* GLESN: Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network: Provides resources for teachers and students about LGBTQ issues.

* GSA Network: An organization that helps students form clubs in schools that support LGBTQ+ students and provides resources to support them. 

* Human Rights Campaign: Organization that fights for LGBTQ equality through legal and political advocacy.

* It Gets Better Project: Provides support to LGBTQ youth by offering support through personal stories by famous and not famous people and other resources.

* OK2BME: Website with list of curriculum and teaching resources about LGBTQ issues.

* PFLAG (Original name: “Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays”): Originally founded to provide support to caregivers of gay and lesbian children, it now offers support and resources to the wider LGBTQ community and advocates on their behalf.

* The Trevor Project: An organization that provides support to LGBTQ youth under 25 who are thinking about suicide or facing other crises.


From the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea
As I wrote in this blog post, this is a great book for all students who feel like they don’t belong.  It has a very positive message and the pictures are beautiful.

* Red: A Crayon’s Story
   This deceptively simple picture book is ostensibly about a red crayon who somehow colors everything blue, not red.  People of all ages will like the positive ending.


* Jazz Jennings Reads I Am Jazz
   Jazz Jennings, who wrote about being a transgender teen in the book I Am Jazz, does a read-aloud in this 4 ½ minute video and offers an affirming message to young people at the end.  

You can purchase the book HERE.


* LGBTQ+ Vocabulary Activities and Reading Passage about Gay Pride Month
   This resource teaches English Language Learners and other students 27 vocabulary words about LGBTQ+ issues and Gay Pride Month.  It includes materials for flash cards, word walls, and a vocabulary game.  In addition, there are word search and crossword puzzles as well as a reading passage that gives students background information about Gay Pride Month.

This TpT resource includes a reading passage about Gay Pride Month, & various activities that help students learn 27 words about LGBTQ issues.

Happy Pride Month!


Sunday, May 2, 2021

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week with These Deals & a TpT Sale!

"I'm embarrassed every time I look a teacher in the eye,
because we ask them to do so much for so little."
-- Phil McGraw

(Updated Monday, May 3, 2021)

This year, Teacher Appreciation Week is being celebrated while some teachers in the U.S. and throughout the world are still teaching students remotely and some teachers have returned to in-person classroom teaching.  Whatever your particular situation, the 2021-2021 school year has been been like no other.  Hopefully, educators and students can return to a semblance of normality at the start of the next school year.

For flyers, certificates, and social media images to promote Teacher Appreciation Week, check out the National PTA materials on their website.

Only a few of the chain restaurants that used to offer deals during this week did so last year but there are more this year.  Given the huge economic losses restaurants faced (and still face), I think it's really nice they are giving some special deals to educators in 2021.  You can find a list of some restaurants and other businesses offering special deals below.

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week with special offers! source: The ESL Nexus

Many businesses offer discounts to educators throughout the year but I did not include them in this round up, except for one which I saw for the first time today.  Just click on the green links to go to their websites for more information.  (I looked at all the websites to verify the info and it was accurate at the time I wrote this blog post.)

Breugger's Bagels
What: a) a free medium drip or iced coffee with any purchase b) $10 off any catered order over $75
When: May 3rd - May 7th
How: Use promo code TENOFF75 when placing your order

Buffalo Wild Wings
What: 20% off dine-in or take-out orders at participating restaurants
When: May 5th
How: Show your school ID

Huddle House
What: Teachers get a free meal an beverage
When: May 3rd - May 7th
How: Show your school ID

What: FREE Regular Size Caramel Brownie McFlurry
When: May 4th
How: Scan the offer code in the McDonald’s app (this freebie is for everyone) 

Sonic Drive-In
What: Free large drink or slush with any purchase
When: May 2nd - May 9th
How: Use promo code TEACHERS at checkout online or with their app

Taco Bell
What: Buy-one-get-one Big Zax Snak Meal, while supplies last
When: May 6th
How: Show your school ID

What: Free crunchy taco
When: May 4th
How: Order online or through the app anytime, or purchase in-store from 8:00 - 11:59pm (for anyone, not just teachers)

Other Special Deals
Below are a few more ways teachers are being recognized.

Carson Dellosa Education
What: 25% off online purchases
When: May 2nd - May 9th
How: Use discount code AWESOME at checkout

Headspace for Educators
What: Free annual subscription for educators in the US, UK, Canada & Australia
When: Apparently anytime, not just during Teacher Appreciation Week
How: Create an account and then access meditation, mindfulness & sleep tools

What: 15% off everything, including sale items
When: All the time, not just Teacher Appreciation Week
How: Use your Michael's Reward Card; click this link to enroll

TESOL International Association
What: 20% off TESOL self-study courses; TESOL members also get 30% off all TESOL publications (click here for info about publications)
When: May 3 - May 31, 2021
How: Use discount code LOVE20 at checkout

Find great Spring and End of Year resources at The ESL Nexus
Also, I am pleased to let you know that TeachersPayTeachers is having a sale on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 4th and 5th, 2021.  For the past several years, TpT has had a sitewide sale during Teacher Appreciation Week and this year it is again.  In fact, many of the teacher-authors, including me, have been converting existing resources and creating new ones to try and help teachers out in this new normal.  As usual, all the resources in my store will be 20% off.  Please use the promo code ThankYou21 for an additional 5% off at checkout, which means you can purchase all my resources at a 25% savings.  Other TpT stores will also be on sale for up to 25% off, depending on the store. 

Finally, here's Shonda Rimes' tweet from last year expressing her appreciation to teachers.  I think it's still applicable!

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week 2020 with a TpT Sale & these deals! | The ESL Nexus
Got that right!  source: @shondarhimes

Wishing you all a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week!


Monday, April 5, 2021

Spring Into Savings with a TpT Sitewide Sale!

Just a quick announcement that TeachersPayTeachers is having a sitewide sale starting tomorrow, Tuesday April 6th and ends on Wednesday, April 7th.  All resources in my TpT store, The ESL Nexus, will be on sale at 20% off.  And you'll save an additional 5% at checkout by using the promo code FORYOU21, for a total savings of 25%.

Click HERE to go to The ESL Nexus TpT store

Grab great deals on my Boom Cards & bundles, print & digital resources, and language & content products!  Many of my resources focus on integrating language teaching with academic content material.  They’re intended for English Language Learners in mainstream or regular ed classes who need some extra support with the curriculum but they can also be used by native-English-speaking students as well.  A lot of my resources are about Social Studies topics but there are some that deal with Science, Language Arts – especially writing – and Math.  Other resources focus on teaching about U.S. or other cultures, using short reading passages, word searches, and crossword puzzles to engage students. 

Ramadan and Earth Day are coming up later this month so you might be interested in my resources about those holidays.  In the U.S., Ramadan will begin on April 12th in the evening and end the evening of May 12th.  My Ramadan Activities product includes a reading passage explaining what the holiday is about, a few mini-posters with holidays greetings, task cards with questions about the holiday, and a crossword and word search puzzles.  You can find it here.  It includes a print version and a Google Slides™ version.

Click HERE for more info about this resource
Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22nd.  I have 3 resources that help students learn about the holiday.  The first one is FREE!  It's a poster in acrostic poem format that explains what the holiday is about and offers a few suggestions for how students can protect the environment.  You can find it here.  The other 2 products are vocabulary based.  The Earth Day Word Search & Crossword Puzzles resource includes both print and digital versions; you can find it here.  The picture below shows what the poster looks like when it's put together (which is easy to do).

Grab this Earth Day poster HERE.

The Earth Day Boom Cards resource includes the same vocab words as the puzzle product but is formatted for the Boom Learning℠ platform.  When you purchase the resource through TpT, you'll get a PDF with background info and a link to the Boom cards in my Boom store.  You can find my Earth Day Boom resource here.

Grab these 2 resources & the Earth Day poster HERE.

A few resources are aimed more directly at ELLs; those teach aspects of grammar.  There are some classroom décor resources, which may not be what you need right now if you’re not teaching in-person, unless you are looking for Zoom backgrounds, of which there are a few.  (They can be used on other platforms, too.)  As well, there are a couple professional development resources for educators.  The custom categories listed on the left of my store’s home page can help you find what you need or you can just browse through the listings on each page.

So head on over to The ESL Nexus to find some great resources for you and your students.  Happy Shopping!