Sunday, September 02, 2007

Grating on my skills

I teach cooking.

I can barely make toast without losing a finger of two.

But the recipes that I am to teach seem easy enough.
Pizza toast.
Poutine (A crazy Canadian dish made with French fries, cheese, and gravy. Silly Canadians)

But with any new culture and different activities problems can arise.

Koreans don’t have cheese graters.
Really, they hardly have cheese. There are bits of overprized Western-ized cheese products here and there. But for the most part there is a real lack of cheese and cheese related accessories.

This comes as a bit of a problem in a cooking classroom. Particularly since we teach not only how to read the recipes in English, but how to cook Western type foods.
Two out of three of them require grated cheese.

And the children have to do the grating.

Have you ever had to teach a group of 30 children how to grate cheese?
Beyond that, could you do it while using very little actual English?

The kids take the graters with looks of apprehension and confusion.

They juggle the cheese and metal tools. They put them together in a variety of ways, unsure of what the result should be. They rub the cheese the wrong way and look shocked that nothing really happens.
They rub it the right way and seem surprised that grooves suddenly appear in the block.

They lift up the grater and are amazed by the created tiny shreds of cheese. They are far too excited by the result.

One group held the grater over the sink, unsure of what kind of mess they might make (thereby losing much of the cheese to the drain).

Each day when I get out of bed and head off to work I find it hard to believe that I am on the other side of the globe. Then a child holds a cheese grater upside down with an inquisitive look and it all becomes a little easier to accept.

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