RE Class Making Cookies for Jonesborough Food Pantry

Second and Third Graders are Cooking Their Way Around the World

It all started when Tish Kashdan offered sushi making during the summer religious education program.  Eighteen children showed up and enthusiastically participated in creating the Japanese dish.

When Denee Mattioli commented on how engaged all the kids were in the process, Beth Calvert’s response was, “Of course! They LOVE to cook.  We should write a curriculum around cooking.”  So that’s what they did. The curriculum is Traveling, Learning, Cooking and Caring.  Our Director of Religious Education, Sarah White, took a copy of the curriculum to the D.R.E. conference in Denver.  This curriculum will be offered for sale to other U.U. churches.  Any monies derived from the sales will help support our own religious education program.

In a time when many seem fearful of those different from themselves, our children need opportunities to learn about people from other countries and cultures.  One of the goals of this curriculum is to encourage curiosity, understanding and acceptance of people from other cultures and their customs.

There are thirty-one lessons and each one focuses on a country.  Each week a book is read that has it’s setting in the country being studied and demonstrates one or more of the Unitarian Universalist principles. The children are able to see the principles in action, no matter what the culture.

After the story, the children and teachers cook and/or bake a dish from the highlighted country. The food preparation is experiential and helps the children develop confidence and skills.  Though they are not required to eat foods they do not like, they are encouraged to taste each dish.  Trying something new and different is a way to grow.

The children have enjoyed baking bread, preparing Greek salad, fish and chips from New Zealand, lamingtons from Australia, nshima and relish from Zambia, haupia and baked bananas from Hawaii. They have enjoyed an English tea party and a Japanese tea ceremony. They have also pressed fresh apple cider, painted sugar skulls from Mexico, baked baklawa from Egypt, and made the traditional Native American dish, three sisters stew. They will continue this curriculum through May.

Breaking bread together builds community and there is a spiritual dimension to being in a community.  Hospitality’s religious roots are revealed in the story of Abraham that is shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians. 

While preparing this curriculum, they discovered that King Arthur Bread Company has a program called “Bake for Good”.  With every pledge of baking for someone else, the company will donate a meal to Feeding America.

On December 17, after coffee hour, this R.E. class will be having a holiday cookie baking party with their teachers and families.  Their goal is to bake enough cookies to fill at least 23 tins, one for each family that uses the Jonesborough Food Pantry.  (This will require at least 35 dozen cookies.) That means 23 meals donated by King Arthur to Feeding America.  If they succeed in baking more than 23 tins, the additional cookies will go to Hunger First and Kitchen of Hope.  Those will also be matched with donations to Feeding America.

If you would like to help the 2nd and 3rd graders, please bring tins on Sunday, December 10.  You may leave them in the kitchen.  You may also bring homemade cookies on Sunday, December 17.