Cooking at the Crossroads
“Welcome to the market place in our city. It is the crossroads of many cultures...You are tired, hungry and thirsty. Soon you will be able to trade a story of your native land in exchange for food and drink.” (Excerpt from the ELL Drama classroom assignment)
As the English Language Learners' Drama class filed into the kitchen last week, they transformed themselves from everyday King Middle School students into travelers meeting at the cultural crossroads of the marketplace. Coming into the classroom with nothing to trade but their stories, the travelers eagerly awaited the opportunity to eat together and tell their tales from far-off lands.
The first day in the kitchen, we prepared a Mezze platter with olives, almond-stuffed dates, fresh vegetables from the garden, and home-made hummus. A few days later, the travelers returned to concoct a pumpkin curry made with fresh greens and squash from the garden. As we all sliced, chopped, minced, and blended, we got to know one another and shared our experiences both inside and outside of the kitchen.
While we dipped carrots and spooned stew, the student-travelers traded personal stories about food, kitchens, and cooking. We heard about a grandfather's traditional preparation of yak meat in Tibet, a folktale about the radish people of Nepal, the experiences of a chicken farmer in Mexico, and how one might serve beef tongue in Germany. As we came together at the table, each traveler’s tale was woven into a common, and memorable, experience. After two rejuvenating meals, the travelers left with their heads held high and ready for new adventures.