Ask a kid "where does our food come from" and you might be surprised at the answers. All too often, the answer might be "Walmart." In our area, those who have their own gardens are few and far between. Many kids have never experienced the wonder of potatoes dug straight from the rich soil or tomatoes picked from the vine, tree branches hanging laden with apples ripe for the picking, the joy of discovering the perfect pumpkin hidden amongst thick vines. This disconnect with where our food comes from will probably only become greater as our nation's population becomes increasingly urban, removed from the elements as more than anything but an inconvenience or curiosity.
If you are looking for a good story to use to introduce your kids "back to nature", take a look at Meredith Hooper's A Cow, a Bee, a Cookie, and Me, illustarted by Alison Bartlett, published by Kingfisher in 1997. The story begins. . .
"Ben was cooking with his grandma. 'What should we make?' asked Ben. 'Honey cookies,' said Grandma. 'What do we need?' asked Ben. 'We need. . .' said Grandma,'a cow in a field eating fresh green grass, munch, dribble, munch, all day long.'
The story moves on with Ben's grandma surprising Ben (and the reader) at every turn with what they need for their cookies: sugarcane, "dried bark from a faraway tree," a "thousand buzzing bees"--culminating in a recipe for these mouthwatering honey cookies. After sharing this book, you may find that your students never look at a recipe in quite the same way--I know that I certainly don't.
This story lends itself wonderfully to feltboard storytelling, storytelling with props (a big bowl into which you drop the toy chicken, the toy cow-you get the idea), and to sharing a tasty treat with your group.
After sharing this book, you may find that your students never look at their food or a recipe in quite the same way--I know that I certainly don't.
NOTE: This title has been reissued as Honey Cookies.