Christina Warinner from the University of Oklahoma uses this interactive cooking activity to expose students to traditional Mesoamerican foods. Students will understand how much labor was necessary to craft these foods during their cultural exploration.
Class: Foreign Cultures 34: Ancient Mesoamerican Civilizations
- First, before taking on the task, students were assigned readings on ancient Mesoamerican cuisine and cooking.
- The instructor explains the activity (students are also given a handout, attached) at the board then divides the students into groups of five.
- Instructor then distributes the materials needed to make the tortillas and chocolatey atole.
- Following the instructions, the students made tortillas and hot chocolate using traditional Mesoamerican ingredients and utensils.
Comments: It's a lot of fun and the students really enjoyed it. Students were surprised by how hard it is to grind maize into masa, and that helped put into perspective the gendered labor of ancient Mesoamerica, in which women were expected to grind maize for many hours every day. It also helped them better appreciate and understand references to food in ancient Mesoamerican texts and their cultural and economic context.
Equipment: Stone mano, stone metate, stone molcajete, portable electric burner, small aluminum pots, comal or electric griddle, small knife, cutting board, cups, plates, bowls, molinillo
Ingredients: Maize kernels, slaked lime (cal), roasted cacao nibs, achiote, vanilla bean, serrano chiles, honey
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