2009-04-23 / Youth

EDUCATION NOTES

Dreaming of a food science class

Bill Slingerland teaches math, science and social studies at Port Aransas High School. Bill Slingerland teaches math, science and social studies at Port Aransas High School. As a recipient of a Port Aransas Education Foundation grant, I am very excited. We have a group of businesses, parents and citizens who, with their hard work and commitment, gave more than $50,000 in grants to teachers and staff at the schools. The money will be used for computers, software, training, art supplies, lab equipment and other materials to enhance learning in the classroom.

This is the third year that the PAEF has given grants out to the school. Last year, I wrote about the everyday life skills that are being taught at the high school. The PAEF has given money to the sewing class and to the welding class. These are areas that have become very popular at school and can use the improvements.

Not everyone is college-bound. Some students will join the world of work right after graduation. I would like to see the PAEF and the district try to design a program to enhance learning for the vocational student.

One topic I am particularly interested in is the vocation of food management.

A cooking class would be so helpful to students with an interest in food and hospitality. It would also benefit students in their daily life skills.

Cooking involves science. Why do eggs have to be in a cake recipe?

How does fat and flour and drippings make a gravy? Why does whipping cream have to be whipped?

Mathematics is another subject that applies to cooking. Measurements have to be doubled or tripled. Ingredients have to be added in certain ratios. How to price food and meet a budget is an important math skill.

The geography and history of food is very important. So many of our foods that we enjoy today came from other regions. Our cuisine in the United States has become global. We now use ingredients from Asia, Europe and Central America.

With concern about juvenile diabetes, childhood obesity, and kidney stones in younger people, food choices are important things to teach. So many foods contain vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need. (I was so happy when it came to everyone's notice that chocolate and coffee are important foods.)

I dream of some day having a food science class that teaches all these things. I dream of a local organization like the chamber of commerce or the Port Aransas Restaurant Association (why don't we have this?) sponsoring a restaurant skills class. The food service industry is so important to our tourist economy. Beyond high school, there is an excellent food service program at Del Mar College. There are also excellent culinary schools in San Antonio, Austin and Houston.

We have students interested in food service and food science. We have staff members who could teach these subjects. We just need more dreamers who can dream up the way to fund such a program.

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