Students in McDowell High School’s foreign flavors class learned through their tastebuds in a recent unit that required each student to research a country’s culture to discover and cook a new dish.
Through this project, Breanna Sult, a senior, researched South Korea and found out that when North and South Korea were still united, known then as Goryeo, their ruler King Taejo introduced Buddhism to the country, which is still practiced in South Korea today.
Sult said that this project opened her eyes to foods and customs not known to her before. “It’s benefited me in a way that helps me understand similarities and differences and helps me get a taste of what their culture is like,” she said.
Another student in the class, junior Jack Bielak, chose Thailand. He said that his neighbors were Thai, so he grew up hearing the language and eating the food. Because of the assignment, he learned that Thailand was the birthplace of Siamese cats.
Sue Ann Simmons, the teacher of foreign flavors, also said this project benefits students because “in a global world, we should know more about our neighbors,” and therefore would be “better able to communicate and understand people from all different backgrounds” if you learn about a country different than your own.
Sult also said the class benefits her by helping her learn about different ingredients and how to cook them. Through her work on this assignment and her newfound knowledge about another culture, Sult said she learned that the students in South Korea go to school for nearly 10 hours a day. “I have a lot of respect for the country and the ways that they do everything and their traditions,” she said.
Foreign flavors is offered third and fourth block during third and fourth quarter and is available to everyone who has taken exploring culinary arts by Simmons. She said that this class entails “learning geography, culture, and cuisine of other countries.”
Simmons hopes that students take what they learned from her class with them when they leave high school. She said, “Perhaps it will inspire students to try new cuisine or travel abroad someday.”