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This article is re-posted from Dr. Amílcar Challú‘s personal academic blog.

Last Thursday I took my pre-independence Latin America to The Teaching Kitchen, an annex to the main cafeteria in which a chef, in coordination with a faculty member, instructs how to cook a certain dish. I used food in classes before but it was the first time I tried using cooking as a teaching tool. We prepared tortillas from masa harina, baked them (don’t grill me for this) and then ate them with beans and salsa, with chocolate made with almond milk (no atole available, unfortunately).

Dr. Challú’s students prepare a meal as a class in the teaching kitchen

By preparing tortillas, students gained at least some understanding of the time involved. Although we baked them, I demonstrated a comal, helping understand the fuel efficiency of mesoamericana cooking. We tried to froth the chocolate with a molinillo without much success . We discussed the cooking of tortillas in connection to population and abundance of certain resources (labor, water, fuel).

It’s a learning curve with much to learn in how to make it more effective but I’m pleased with it. We learned some things by doing and I hope that the experience established some effective connection that is also part of learning.

Dr.Challú and his students talk over tortillas and beans.