Calgary·FOOD AND THE CITY

Prince of Wales Grade 1 classes compile their own cookbook

Some of the youngest students at the Prince of Wales school in Parkland have been working on a project this spring — a cookbook they compiled, edited and published themselves.

'Purpose was to learn about traditions in a meaningful way'

Teacher Elysa Morin, left, and Prince of Wales Grade 1 students celebrate the completion of a class cookbook designed to share cultural traditions. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Some of the youngest students at the Prince of Wales school in Parkland have been working on a project this spring — a cookbook they compiled, edited and published themselves.

"The purpose was to learn about traditions in a meaningful way, and how they contribute to the students' unique family and cultural identities," says teacher Elysa Morin, who along with Grade 1 teachers Dana Manzer and Leah Smith incorporated food into their lessons, from exploring estimation and measurement with pumpkins at Halloween to reading cookbooks and doubling recipe measurements in math.

The kids learned how to read and follow recipes, but also discussed the meanings behind them, sharing stories of their own families, likes and dislikes, cultural backgrounds and traditions.

The finished book, which has a simple plastic cerlox binding, includes each student’s handwritten title and intro — a reminder that the contributors were six and seven year olds — and the recipe itself typed up at the bottom. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

"We hoped students would appreciate food as a medium for family and togetherness, as well as for learning," says Morin.

"They did seem to take that understanding away, and more importantly, an appreciation for each other's traditions."

To that end, on one of the snowiest mornings in February, they hosted a Family Traditions Brunch in the school gym; each child brought the dish they chose to share in the cookbook.

Dishes spread out on folding tables ranged from cupcakes to biryani, hand-pinched dumplings and shepherd's pie, brown bread and biko. 

The finished book, which has a simple plastic cerlox binding, includes each student's handwritten title and intro — a reminder that the contributors were six and seven year olds — and the recipe itself typed up at the bottom.

Dishes spread out on folding tables ranged from cupcakes to biryani, hand-pinched dumplings and shepherd’s pie, brown bread and biko. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

There are illustrations, photos of the students' process work, and comic strip-style storyboard renditions and journal entries about their recipes.

Every student in the three Grade 1 classes will bring a copy home, and there's an extra to sign out of the school library.

"The whole experience has been really positive, especially the brunch," says Morin.

"We also wanted to further build community within our school — we've had a new neighbourhood bus into our school this year and we've been trying to reinforce a sense of community and welcoming. And nothing brings people together like food."

The kids learned how to read and follow recipes, but also discussed the meanings behind them, sharing stories of their own families, likes and dislikes, cultural backgrounds and traditions. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

About the Author

Julie Van Rosendaal

Calgary Eyeopener's food guide

Julie Van Rosendaal talks about food trends, recipes and cooking tips on the Calgary Eyeopener every Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. MT. The best-selling cookbook author is a contributing food editor for the Globe and Mail, and writes for other publications across Canada.