Common Eating – The Meal Itself.

If you’ve had a chance to read the previous posts in this series, you’ll have noticed an emphasis on the meal that begins each session.  This meal is intended to be the central part of the course.  I hope to accomplish several things in doing this.

Foremost, is the opportunity for students to get to know each other in a way that a normal seminary class may n0t allow.  The meal allows for something more than a coffee break, even a somewhat protracted one does, for  the building of relationships.

I want to make the meal both a limited budget and limited (by number) ingredient meal.  Hopefully this would keep the meal simple.  Since, it would be expected that everyone would cook, keeping the budget low and the meal plan simple, would likely serve to keep the meal from becoming a competitive cook.  It’s likely that the people in the class would have different cooking abilities and hopefully this would prevent those with less skill feeling embarrassed by those whose skill is more advanced.

In keeping the budget low, I also hope that people in the class would be forced to reflect on the cost of food.  In preparing and eating meals that are simple in nature, participants in the class will be given the opportunity to reflect on what life is like for people in their communities who are living on fixed incomes.

To accomplish this I’m suggesting a food fee of $45.  $30. of this would be the budgeted amount that the students are allowed for the meal they prepare(receipts must be submitted), and $15 for the closing feast(I’m rethinking the potluck thing).  The $15 would be due up front, and the $30 dollars would be used for purchasing ingredients(marks will be deducted for students who try and spend less/more than $30(give or take a few cents)).

By pairing students together, it also becomes an exercise in collaboration.  Both students will need to participate in the exercise, and both students will receive the same mark. While it may seem unfair if one student does more work than the other, part of the point of the exercise is in learning to work together.  For example, if you are a good cook, learning to share a kitchen with someone who isn’t quite is good could be quite challenging.

By the end of the course, the plan is that students would have developed some skills in understanding meal planning.  Some may have cooked for the first time. Some may learn a little more about simple meals. All, if it works out, will have become more closely connected with each other and the food they eat.


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