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It’s not your everyday home economics class.
The Division of Preventative medicine, the Wang School in Lowell and the Citizen’s School, a non-profit organization geared toward youth, spent 10 weeks this spring cooking up cultural medleys.
Students of the Wang School attended weekly workshops around Lowell after school to learn about people through the foods we eat. As part of a volunteer-apprenticeship program, experts in international cuisine introduced students to new foods, the people who eat them, the cultural significance behind them and the history that came before.
Executive chef for Aramark Olan Horne brought Asian fusion food to the kitchen, incorporating different cuisines from French and Asian cultures. Horne offered insights into how cultures came together through the foods and cooking techniques of two separate lands.
Another week, he introduced students to “soul food,” the hybrid cuisine of native African inspired food developed in the huts of American slaves.
Prof. Alese Bruce of the Clinical Lab Sciences Department taught students how to make Japanese dumplings. Maggie Martin in the Division of Preventative Medicine brought a taste of Ireland with a lesson in Irish bread making. Students even traveled to local landmark restaurants like the Mexican-based Mambo Grill and Caffe Paradiso, an Italian experience, to get up-close looks at how the pros do it.
What did the students like best about the series?
The buckets of food they brought home, of course. Nevertheless, the value of learning diversity through the staples of culture will stay with them.