Eating Local

Ever since I sat down to read Barbara Kingsolver’s memoir,  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I’ve started thinking more about the food I eat and the ways in which it is prepared. Since I was little, I have been cooking for myself and my family,though this was usually out of necessity (no one else wanted to cook). Only in my mid-twenties did I actually start to properly plan meals and gather various ingredients like spices and fresh herbs. As a citizen of the world, I have been able to observe diverse cooking styles and have gradually implemented these into my cooking. I was inspired by the movie “Julie and Julia,” to one, take up French cooking and two, start a blog as a means to find a focus for my life. With Kingsolver’s admonitions to buy local produce, I procured fresh white mushrooms from the market and decided to attempt Cream of Mushroom soup. The recipe itself is pretty straightforward, but there was one factor that I did not anticipate: white mushrooms that turn black when you cook them. I’m not sure what color the soup should be (most can versions are white), but mine ended up being grey even after I added the cream. Nevertheless, it was very tasty. I ate the soup with a tossed salad (arabic style) and resurrected freezer bread (don’t you love ovens?). So, I am on my journey to support the local farmers and become a good cook insha Allah.

Curriculum Mapping, or Doing School Work Over the Holiday

If there is one thing that has bothered me about my current school is the amount of work they give teachers. I have not been teaching that long (3 years), but I cannot remember being as stressed out about work as I have been this year. Now, if giving teachers more work actually results in students acquiring more knowledge, then it’s a great idea, right? So far, I cannot any see any immediate benefit to what we are doing.

As an English teacher at my school, I am responsible for documenting all of the lesson plans, quizzes, worksheets, etc. that I use each quarter. Normally, I would not mind doing this except I am expected to have this done before the quarter has ended and I must complete the work during my holiday (“free time”). My head of department is calling this “curriculum mapping” and believes this well help make the department more solid. I believe it’s a good idea to come together as a team of teachers and discuss what you are teaching and how the kids are learning; however, our department’s process assumes that the lesson plans and assessments will stay the same each year. As I understand this process, curriculum mapping is a system that is not static and something that teachers can contribute to at anytime during the school year. It is also something that involves the whole school, rather than one department, and allows for cross-curriculum instruction.

As you can see, I am approaching this task of mapping out the curriculum with little enthusiasm. It’s a lot of work and I would rather spend my holiday resting, reading, and writing. Nonetheless, the job must be done and I will get the job done insha Allah!