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Making Culinary Connections in the Chinese Classroom

The+three+pairs+of+dishes+were+spring+rolls+vs.+burritos%2C+dumplings+vs.+perogies+and+turnip+cake+vs.+biscuits+and+gravy.+Photo+courtesy+of+Ai-Lan+Lin.
The three pairs of dishes were spring rolls vs. burritos, dumplings vs. perogies and turnip cake vs. biscuits and gravy. Photo courtesy of Ai-Lan Lin.

The three pairs of dishes were spring rolls vs. burritos, dumplings vs. perogies and turnip cake vs. biscuits and gravy. Photo courtesy of Ai-Lan Lin.

The three pairs of dishes were spring rolls vs. burritos, dumplings vs. perogies and turnip cake vs. biscuits and gravy. Photo courtesy of Ai-Lan Lin.

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In Chinese teacher Ai-Lan Lin’s classroom, you don’t just learn about Chinese food: You make it.

The Chinese 2 class held an Iron Chef competition on Thursday, April 19.

In the class, students learn about various Chinese foods. Lin hopes that by actually getting a taste of it, they will acquire a deeper knowledge of the culture.

“If [students] make the food that can represent the culture, that will [help them better understand] what they are learning,” Lin said.

Each group made two dishes, one a dish eaten during Chinese New Year and one a western dish similar to the Chinese dish.

The three pairs of dishes were spring rolls vs. burritos, dumplings vs. perogies, and turnip cake vs. biscuits and gravy.

Students invited three teachers from different departments to act as judges. This year, math teacher John Kaminski, English teacher Josh Davis, and science teacher Karla Seery were the judges.

[The students] like to show off what they know about Chinese culture and their cooking to other teachers, especially when they actually see the teachers trying their food and complimenting it.”

— Chinese teacher Ai-Lan Lin

While serving their dishes, each group gave a presentation about similarities and differences between the foods they served.

Freshman Yoav Pinhasi felt that the project contributed greatly to his knowledge of Chinese culture.

“It was a unique experience, and in a positive way it allowed for us to experience what people in of other nations do,” Pinhasi said.

Lin enjoys seeing students take pride in presenting their dishes to their teachers.

“[The students] like to show off what they know about Chinese culture and their cooking to other teachers, especially when they actually see the teachers trying their food and complimenting it,” Lin said.

“I really loved the excitement the student presenters had,” Seery said. “It felt like an honor to be the one to enjoy their efforts.”

Seery was surprised at how much effort the students put in.

“They worked hard to create and plate the dishes well,” she said. “They had to bring a lot of materials from home to make it happen.”

Pinhasi felt proud of the results of the project.

“It was great to see others try and comment on your dish and doing the same thing for others,” he said. “I think the project as a whole brought the class together.”

 

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Making Culinary Connections in the Chinese Classroom