Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Adventures in Cacao

One of the reasons that I teach elective classes at the boys' school is that it keeps me learning. In seeking to create a fun, educational trimester for a dozen little kids, I get to read, research, and explore on my own beforehand. When I was first teaching, I picked subjects that I knew well; I didn't have to step too far out of my comfort zone to teach a trimester of Italian language and culture, ocean conservation, or silk-painting. Then the boys began requesting things. After we visited the King Tut exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, Riley asked if I could teach a class about Egyptology; and because Dylan loves all Australian animals, he talked me into teaching an Outback Adventure class. I didn't know much about either of those subjects, but I do now and we had a blast while we all learned!

This time around, I wanted to teach a class about chocolate. Being an International School, one of the requirements for the elective proposals is that there be some international component. So, I decided to teach a global history of chocolate - from the Mayans and Aztecs to Europe to the cacao colonies. It should be fun. And I am lucky enough to have a friend who is a cacao farmer. He offered to skype with my class from his farm in Hawaii. Here's a photo from one of his trees. Thanks, Seneca!

What it means for my cooking adventures this month...you guess it: chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. I definitely think that this trimester is going to require an increased diligence in my bootcamp attendance. Stay tuned for my cacao cooking capers. I started tonight!

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