The Culture of Food: The Benefits of Learning how to Cook

Last weekend, I ended up with five kids in my kitchen. One of them was me, yes. Two were the other members of my Spanish IV project group, another was my freshman brother, and the last was his partner for his Spanish II project.

Our two projects were more similar than they may seem at first. Obviously, they were both Spanish projects. But they were both also projects concerning foods from Spanish-speaking countries. Although food culture doesn’t really help with the Spanish language itself, we still have to learn it.

But why?

The answer is not that it tastes good, although that is very true. The real reason is motivation.

Have you ever been bogged down with long homework assignments and rapidly approaching exams and sometimes all you need is a coffee or a piece of chocolate to get you on your feet again? Well, same concept.

Learning a language is not easy, especially when you’re in high school and have five or six other classes to be studying for. It’s easy to get lost in lessons about the “past-subjunctive” and “preterite vs imperfect.” The idea behind the foods projects is simply this: it’s fun, it’s different, and you feel good about the final product. It’s a pick-me-up.

And it works. Even the most unmotivated students find themselves wanting to achieve something more when they try the wonderful Tostones and Pan de Muerto their best friends brought into Spanish class.

So the next time you’re wondering about just how useful a project is, think again. Could this maybe just be the coffee and chocolate to your struggles?

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