Many of us are obsessed with taking pictures of food. The food we bake or cook, the food we are served in a restaurant or food placed neatly in patisserie windows. ( I have often been spotted with a camera happily taking pictures outside Betty’s in Yorkshire).
As a food teacher, I spend most of my holidays taking pictures of the local dishes, fruit stalls, dishes made on cookery courses, to people waving and smiling with food in front of them. I am known to stop people from eating so that I can set their dish up for a photo and most of the time I say “this will be great for teaching a lesson on ……………
At school, I have a little section of the worktop that I set up for photos. It has to be spotlessly clean, bright and against a wall ( to avoid random people walking in the back ground). I encourage pupils to put their food on a white plate or a relevant cultural serving dish, to always have a garnish and to take a photo from above, a photo from the side; followed by a photo with the product set up with a slice taken out to show the crumb structure, texture, filing etc.I also have a light box which excites pupils when they are new to studying food but the novelty does wear of after a while buts its nice to have options.
I encourage pupils to use google images or Instagram or delicious magazine for inspiring ideas on how to style or set up their dishes.
Recently, my pupils struggled with a question on their mock paper. The question was
“Discuss the religious and cultural needs to be considered when developing a food product”.
All of them could answer confidently about the religious needs and very few could answer the section on cultural needs.
I remembered back to how I had taught a lesson on this topic and I had taught all the religious needs section by using flash cards, pictures and video clips. For the culture part we had basically discussed it but no other aids were used in the teaching of this section.
So I am going to use photos in a revision lesson to help them understand the culture of foods around the world.
- Dishes associated with certain countries
Seafood and pasta in Italy
Beef Massam and Sticky Rice in a restaurant in Thailand
Salade Nicoise in a cafe in Paris
- How food is used to celebrate national or religious celebrations?
- Staple foods – pasta in ItalyCooking utensils commonly used in China.
So hopefully defining the word “culture” and showing and discussing these photos and the many others I have should help pupils understand the term cultural needs in food product development.!!!!