Italian Cooking in U.S. Schools?
Children certainly do need to learn maths, literature, history and geography in school. They also need to learn about an important means of communication, necessary for their health and well-being: cooking – and the making and sharing of foods with others. I so enjoyed teaching Italian cooking, healthy eating and nutrition in a Texas school in 2009. Time to get back into the schools bringing to all the message of Nadia Marconi (from Citta’ di Castello).
At Citta’ di Castello’s November truffle festival, I had met Nadia – classics teacher by profession and culinary historian for passione – and she made me wish SHE had been one of my teachers when growing up! As we talked over fettuccine al tartufo bianco, Nadia exclaimed, “Frozen foods, no! Why unwrap, heat and serve a food? Food is a language, a way of communicating… Let us educate our youth, our children to the flavors of food as communication.”
She introduced me to her husband, saying, “We are two simple spirits and lovers of la cucina tradizionale: from the garden to the table, food as a reflection of our relationship with nature.” Nadia indicated the paper plates and forks with a grimace: “I do not even want to see these!” She told me about her relationship with her students, using a culinary parallel, “In school, I do not like written tests,” she said, “as I want my students to talk to me, taking the time they need to organize their thoughts, ideas. Each one’s natural rhythyms should be respected. Just as in the preparation of foods“.
My 2012 U.S. tour will underscore cooking as communication – for all age groups!