Preserving cultural heritage through the celebration of food
Keywords: intangible heritage; gastronomic heritage; rituals; traditions; narrative; cultural identity.
Aims and Rationale
This activity is aimed at introducing students to the exploration of different gastronomic traditions that have developed within a culture. In using this activity with your students, they will have the chance to learn about a variety of gastronomic traditions and indulge in the cooking of selected recipes in light of safeguarding them. This cooking-based activity can help the students appreciate diversity in cuisine habits within different cultures.
One indirect outcome of this activity is associated with the promotion of cuisines and gastronomic habits that are marginalised from mainstream food narratives in different cultures.
Learning Outcomes and Associated Areas of Knowledge
Evaluate on the cultural diversity embedded in different culinary traditions
Recall and describe the basic principles of different cultural cuisines leading to the identification of a specific recipe
Plan, design and produce a story about a dish which embeds the value that it represents
21st Century skills
- Equality and Diversity
- Artistry and Personal Expression
- Research Skills and Practices
Microphone and camera to record interviews.
Cooking ingredient and equipment.
The activity starts from group discussions aimed at planning ahead the research and the selection of which culinary habits to explore. The next sub-activity is about recruiting community members knowledgeable about traditional recipes. The investigation around these recipes will be structured in primary and secondary research activities. The former phase is based on interviews and/or focus groups with culinary heritage keepers. The findings stemming from the first activity will inform the second activity, which is about carrying out a review on secondary sources such as media coverage and literature. While the first phase helps the listing of recipes that find the agreement of a manifold of people, the second phase benefits the historical and cultural contextualisation of such habits.
In this phase, students can start creating. They can be facilitated in the creation of the following artefacts:
- Creation of recipe cards using traditional ingredients;
- Production of YouTube videos to demonstrate the recipe and explain the cultural uses and context;
In this phase, students can be supported in the reflection on the impact that contemporary food industry has on traditional cooking and, as a consequence, on important intangible cultural heritage manifestations.
The challenges of this activity are related to the availability of resources and requirements to setting it up. Firstly, language barriers may occur when students and keepers of the culinary traditions do not share the same language. Therefore, interpreters may be necessary. Secondly, certain recipes may be very rare so people knowledgeable about those recipes can be hard to recruit. It may be better, then, to focus on recipes that – although rare and at risk of fading away – are still practiced to a certain extent. Thirdly, certain ingredients may not be available; therefore, the selection of recipes in the first phase should take this factor into consideration.
Assessment for Learning
Assessment for learning is embedded in the different phases of the activity as students move from research, to creation and reflection. The first phase will enable students to draw on their own experiences and first-hand knowledge of cultural cuisines. The research activity will then push them further to develop an understanding of the principles of cultural cuisines which builds on this existing knowledge. The artefacts produced will enable students to demonstrate their evaluations of the cultural diversity embedded in different culinary traditions. Reflection activities enable students to consolidate their learning and identify any areas where they might want to engage in further thinking about cuisines and ICH when their work is reviewed by community members.
Assessment 'How to'
The extent to which the students will have understood and become able to cook a recipe, as well the cultural context to which it was originated, should be assessed by community members from the culture where the recipe originated from. The assessment can be done through reversed interviews in which community members ask students questions about the cultural and social context surrounding a culinary habit, such as the procedures, the cultural relevance, the uses, the gatherings etc. To evaluate how the preparation reflected the recipe, elders could try it and provide feedback.