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Cookbook Exercise

Contributed by Eva Novak (Advanced Level, Dublin United Methodist Church)

I teach at Dulin UMC. Using a box of dozens of donated cookbooks, I ask students to use the books to decide on a menu for a variety of scenarios. I allowed the students to take home their very own American cookbook afterwards.


The PTA (Parent Teacher Association) at your middle school has asked your committee to organize a lunch for the kids on Monday, November 17, while the PTA hosts an appreciation luncheon for the cafeteria workers. Each member of your committee should choose from this cookbook a main dish, a side dish, and a dessert to serve to the students so they have a variety to choose from. Justify your selections to your fellow committee members based on why children will like it and how easy it will be to prepare in the school’s kitchen. Be sure that your final selections include at least one main dish, one side dish, and one dessert that can be eaten by children who are vegetarians, children who don’t eat pork, and children who are allergic to egg and milk products.


Your/your spouse’s/your child’s boss is coming for dinner with his or her family, or if you work for a family, you have offered to cook an American dinner for them. Decide as a group what you would serve from this cookbook. Because you will be working or busy the day they are coming, determine what steps you can complete the day before they arrive.


Your child’s Boy/Girl Scout troop or school band or swim team is having a bake sale in front of the local grocery store this Saturday. You are the organizers, and will tell the other parents which desserts and what drinks will be offered for sale. Decide as a group which six desserts to prepare for sale, and what two beverages you will also offer from this cookbook.


Your church is joining another congregation for a joint worship service followed by a brunch in the church social hall. Decide as a group on a variety of dishes, keeping in mind the same food preferences listed in Scenario A. Based on the recipes, decide what can be cooked the morning of the brunch in the church’s kitchen, and what will have to be prepared earlier.

If you finish all the above, please describe to your classmates the most memorable or unusual meal you’ve ever eaten, and some of the typical daily and holiday foods from your country.

Baking a Cake (Total Physical Response)

As a part of the cooking theme, consider using a TPR activity. Select a very simple recipe; bring in the items needed to make the finished product. After introducing the name of each item, mime the steps necessary to make the cake. You could have a finished product ready to share at the end of this activity (cake, cookies, muffins, bread, etc).

Before the hands-on activity: Practice/review the cooking vocabulary needed for your activity. Bring in the utensils you’ll need and introduce the name for each utensil. If possible, make flashcards that include picture on one side, name of item on the other for students to use for practice.

Activity: Bring in a store bought cake mix. Using the cake’s instructions as a guide, mime the directions in a step-by-step format.


  • Open the box
  • Pour the mix into the bowl
  • Add water and two eggs
  • Mix the ingredients
  • Pour the cake batter into a baking pan
  • Place the pan into the oven
  • Bake the cake for 30 minutes

Simplify the list for beginners.