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The history and domestication of food: General Introduction
Why Food?

Food is a basic preoccupation of every human society. But it is much more than the nourishment that keeps our bodies going: every culture has incorporated food into its traditions and religions, and special dishes have become important components of cultural identity.

Food is an interesting point of convergence for physical and cultural geographers because of the unique patterns of biological and agricultural development in human history. Most of the foods we eat did not originate in the place where we live. In this unit, students will focus on the following key questions in these areas:

  • Where do the foods we commonly eat come from? How did they come to be a part of our diet?
  • What happens when new foods are adopted into a culture?
  • What role does food play in culture, religion, and the human imagination?
This unit is only a beginning for students to delve into these areas. In addition to their content research, students will receive language input and produce output on crucial Advanced level language functions such as detailed descriptions, comparisons, and past narration, in addition to recycling lower-level functions (e.g., asking information questions).

Objectives Students will be able to...
  Geogrpahy Standards:
  • describe the movements of agricultural products and the historical background that brought about the spread of foods around the globe
  • describe and compare the complexity of human cultural mosaics, as represented in legends, dietary laws, etc.
  • use maps/charts to represent agricultural and historical data
  Second Language Standards
  • describe and compare foods and traditions
  • narrate in past and present time frames
  • ask information questions

Summative Assessment

Students will design meals for special occasions that will allow them to demonstrate their understanding of the origins and cultural significance of foods.

Activity 1 Food in dialects of Spanish La comida en los dialectos del español Download Word version
Activity 2 Where do our ingredients come from? ¿De dónde vienen los ingredientes? Download Word version
Activity 3 The life of a burrito La vida de un burrito Download Word version
Activity 4 Interchange of products Intercambios de productos Download Word version
Activity 5 Mercantilism and the New World Economy El mercantilismo y la nueva economía mundial Download Word version
Activity 6 Food and religion (1) La comida y la religión (1) Download Word version
Activity 7 Food and religion (2) La comida y la religión (2) Download Word version
Activity 8 Food and religion (3) La comida y la religión (3) Download Word version
Activity 9 Biodiversity and the most important foods La biodiversidad y las comidas más importantes Download Word version
Activity 10 History of the potato La historia de la papa Download Word version
Activity 11 New York: Culinary crucible Nueva York: Crisol culinario Download Word version
Activity 12 U.S. Ethnic groups Grupos étnicos norteamericanos Download Word version
Activity 13 Food from the seven continents
Comidas de los siete continentes
Download Word version
Activity 14 Global foods Comidas globales Download Word version

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