Food brings people together, no matter how old or young they are. At Project CHEF we cook with kids, teachers, parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, and volunteers. We have also cooked with seniors from Tapestry Retirement Community at Wesbrook Village. We believe that when people come together in the kitchen there is always an opportunity to learn from each other.
What people eat sometimes changes through the years. A long time ago jelly salads were popular for dinner. Really!
Sometimes though, food that was enjoyed a long time ago is still enjoyed today. An example is apple crumble and you can find our recipe on our website.
Our Baking Recipes
An activity our classes often do, is have students interview someone from another generation about food from their childhood. We have had interviews take place across the globe by phone, Skype, FaceTime or email. Some interviews have taken place right at home. You might be surprised that someone much older than you enjoyed eating the same things you do when they were kids.
#1 Interview Someone from a Different Generation
This can be a mom or dad, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or a neighbour. Set up a time that may work for them to talk. You can interview by phone, Skype, FaceTime or in person. To keep safe in this time of social distancing, be sure to be 2 meters apart or even interview on either sides of a fence!
#2 Get Ready for Your Interview
To get ready for your interview, practice reading your questions aloud and record the answers you would give if you were being interviewed. Record your answers in your Food Journal. You can even do a practice interview with a sibling.
What was your favourite food as a child? Why?
Who cooked the meals when you were a child?
What kinds of food did you eat for dinner as a child?
Has your eating changed over time? If so, how has it changed?
When you were young, how did you help in the kitchen?
How else did you help at home? Did you have any chores to do?
What time did you eat dinner?
Where did you eat?
What were your family dinner routines? (Did you talk to each other? Did you watch TV? Did you ask to be excused? Did you have to finish everything that was served?)
What did you do if you didn’t like what was being served?
How did you use food to celebrate special occasions when you were a child?
What kinds of food do you enjoy preparing nowadays?
#4 Ask Your Questions
Greet your interviewee then ask your questions. Record your answers in your Food Journal or on a piece of paper clipped to a clipboard. You could even try taping the interview. After your interview, be sure to thank your interviewee for their time.
Read over what you discovered in the interview. Fill in any information that you may not have written down at the time.
#6 Food Journal
Write a summary of your findings in your Food Journal. Maybe you can send a copy or photo of what you wrote to the person you interviewed.
#7 After the Interview
- Did your interviewee give any answers to questions that are similar, or the same as your answers? Find some answers that were similar.
- Are there differences between your answers and the answers given by your interviewees? What are some differences?
- Record in your Food Journal.
To be a good cook, you need to enjoy and not be scared to enjoy different types of food.
When my mom was a child, she adored food and was not afraid to try different food. Her favourite food was baked macaroni and cheese, but now, she enjoys sushi. She loved baked macaroni and cheese because it was cheesy and it was a special meal that her family only ate on a Friday night once a month. She now likes sushi because its healthy and its very flavorful. Her grandma was the main cook and made Chinese foods like rice, tofu, bok choy, and steamed chicken. My mom’s food on holidays were a big part of her family. She would have a huge feast on a holiday like Chinese New Year. It was important to eat foods like chicken, dried fungus, mustard greens which she dislikes, and Shark Fin soup, which is now banned. She ate late at about 7:00PM when her mom came home after work. She’d help around the kitchen by washing the dishes and did other chores before and after dinner like vacuuming the floor and setting up the dinner table. My mom tried different foods but was also a picky eater and was sneaky, chewing her food at the table and then spitting it into the toilet when nobody saw. Nowadays, she enjoys preparing foods like Spaghetti Bolognese and Curry Beef Stew because everyone in the family likes it. I hope one day, I will be a good cook just like my mom since I also enjoy eating and trying different types of foods too. What is her favourite food right now?
What kind of food did you eat when you were a child?
My Nana’s favorite food when she was a child was Red river porridge because her grandpa used to make it for her at the family cottage, he let her add lots brown sugar. Her mother cooked the meals all for the family. The most regular kinds food that she ate as a child were turnips, mashed potatoes and roast beef. My Nana’s diet has changed by eating less sugar, fewer carbs and more fresh produce, because most of her fruits and veggies were canned when she was little. When my Nana was young, she helped in the kitchen by washing dishes and setting the table. Some of her other chores she did around the house were making her bed and she help cut the grass. My Nana’s family ate dinner at 6:00 sharp. Their family would eat dinner at the kitchen table, but on special nights they would eat at the dining room table. They talked at the table and never watched tv at mealtimes. They had to ask to be excused nicely and they did not have to eat everything on her plate. If she didn’t like what was being served, then she could just leave it on her plate. To celebrate special occasions when she was a child, she would eat in the dining room instead of the kitchen and her father made fudge on Friday nights because it was the end of the week, cake for family birthdays and her mother made corn flake kisses on Christmas which was very special treat. My Nana’s favorite dinner when she was little was hamburger casserole. My Nana doesn’t really like to prepare anything, but if she must, then she likes to make pasta, bean casserole or pancakes. When she was a kid, her favorite dessert was rice pudding, and it still is. For school lunches my Nana would have to walk home alone, and her mom would make her some Chicken noodle soup. Can you relate to any of these things when you were a child?
Chomp, chomp, chomp.
That is the universal sound of eating food. We eat food all around the world. We will eat food in the future, and we ate it in the past. And to discover more about food in the past, I interviewed my mother about her childhood food. Growing up her favorite food was Kraft Dinner, as it was cheesy and filling. It was like a treat because she didn’t get it all the time, but she would mostly eat Shake and Bake Chicken, trout, or porkchops. Each was sided with a bowl of salad. Now she is vegetarian though, so she couldn’t have eaten those meals today. Her mom mostly made all the meals but as a teenager she helped prepare meals. Along with that she also had to clean her room, help with the dishes, dust, and set the table. When she was a kid, there would be no tv at dinner, they would have to finish everything on their plate and chat with each other. They ate at the kitchen table at 5:30 every night, and if they didn’t like what was being served, they had to eat a little bit of it. The only time they she got to pick her dinner was on her birthday. And for her birthday, she always had Chinese food. Her favorite dinner was her dad’s spaghetti. Nowadays, she enjoys baking cookies and banana bread. Her favorite dinner to create is rice bowls. My mom now thinks of her childhood food as unhealthy, and the vegetables were always overcooked and disgusting. Growing up she especially disliked eggs, which she now gladly eats. We will all like different food, eat different food, dislike different food, eat food differently, but in the end, we all eat food.
What do you think of your childhood food now that you’re an adult? What foods do you like now but disliked as a child?