WRV FACS student Taylor Brashear shows off some of the sushi made in class.
In my ‘Introduction to Culinary and Hospitality’ class at White River Valley High School, students are exploring other countries and learning about cuisines. The course will take time to explore each continent focusing on the food customs and typical dishes. Last week the class learned about Asian cuisine. Students looked at and drew pictures of Asian cooking utensils, wrote commentary for a Japanese travel video, created a Chinese terminology presentation, prepared traditional dishes and took a trip to Tokyo.
The Chinese use special tools to prepare dishes, including a wok (used to prepare stir-fry), steamer (used to prepare rice, vegetables and meats), cleaver (used to cut ingredients into small pieces) and chopsticks (used to stir and mix food as well as an eating utensil). Japan has many travel destinations. People visiting should plan to go to Mount Fuji, a dormant volcano; the coastline, filled with many natural harbors; and a Japanese tea ceremony, a harmonious event.
The Chinese were governed by dynasties for thousands of years, rice is China’s most important agricultural product, bean curd is a common ingredient made from soybeans, lo mein is a type of noodle, congee is a thick porridge made from rice and egg foo yung is a dish similar to an omelet. The class worked together to make two dishes: Wonton Soup and Sushi. Gabby “had so much fun learning about Japanese culture and foods and being able to roll her own sushi and fold wontons with her friends. It was an unforgettable experience.” The recipe for the Wonton Soup is from one of my friends and is fun to make with a group:
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup thinly sliced Chinese cabbage (bok choy)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup bamboo shoots
Directions: Prepare ingredients and place into large pot. Bring to boil on a medium high heat.
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped water chestnuts
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated ginger root or crystallized ginger
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ pound cooked and shredded pork
Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Spoon by the teaspoonful into the middle of the wonton, wet the edges of the wonton and fold to enclose filling. Drop into boiling soup. Cook until wontons float to the top. Enjoy. Note: I often use leftover pork roast to prepare this soup and it makes for a delicious filling.
The class worked together to fold the wontons. Robyn said, “I loved how we could fold and create different shapes with the wontons.” If you need ideas on how to fold wontons watch “7 Cool Ways to Wrap Wonton,” by CiCi Li on YouTube. We finished the week by going to Tokyo, the restaurant in Terre Haute. Haven said, “Tokyo was a wonderful experience to have with my peers while learning about a different culture.” The hibachi chef had us cracking up all through dinner and the food had that distinct Asian flavor with hints of ginger and soy sauce. As the WRV FACS teacher, I love exploring culture and cuisine with my students.
Betsy Misner has been the Family and Consumer Science, formerly Home Economics, teacher at White River Valley for over a decade. Her motivation is helping students to strive for strong, happy, healthy families and providing career pathways. Check out more of what is happening in the classroom by following her on Twitter: WRVFACS@BetsyMisner