Inside SFS

Writing about Food: A Special visit from an SFS Parent

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This month, food writer and Preschool parent, Jessica Battilana, visited the 6th Grade to impart her wise words about food writing.

From Sixth Grade Humanities teacher Erika Leidtke:

As part of our food unit in Humanities, the 6th graders are working on a class cookbook of dishes that are important to them, their family and identity. It includes essays, recipes and portraits of the students. Jessica stressed the importance of telling a story with the food as a vehicle to do that.

She read a piece from a Korean author about cheese and Sizzler (restaurant) that was really about moving to America. She shared an apple cake with us that was important to her because it was her neighbor’s recipe who had lost a son in the Vietnam war. Jessica also brought in a Durian fruit for the students to experience putting words to food, introducing a list of banned words for food writing: yummy, delicious, disgusting, yucky. The durian caused quite a stir because of the odiferous presence it added to the room. No matter their reactions, the students had something to write about the experience of smelling, observing and tasting this Southeast Asian treat. To their credit, most students tried a bite of the Durian, even though their description of the smell was “rotten eggs,” “gas,” and “stinky socks!”

Time to try the durian!

Jessica stayed for a writing workshop afterward, helping to guide the students as they worked on the second and third drafts of their writing. Some students projected their work on the whiteboard and we were able to think out loud about the writing process. In other cases, Jessica worked with one or two students, helping them to enhance the story behind the food and diminish the empty words.

We are so grateful for her visit!



Posted October 23, 2015