Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate their ability to prepare food in the pressure cooker, describe ways a pressure cooker saves time and conserves energy, and describe how the pressure cooker fits in with contemporary lifestyles.
Equipment and Supplies: Ingredients for fast food recipes · Pressure cookers and pressure cooking instruction manuals (one for each student group) · Timers (one for each student group) · Various cookbooks · Copies of the "Fast Food" worksheet.
The Lesson: Discuss the day-to-day lifestyles of your students and their families, bringing current trends (i.e. working mothers) into the discussion. Ask students about their concept of "time." Do they think they have enough time? Where do they cut corners?
Point out how "convenience" has become a multi-billion dollar industry in our society and ask students to suggest ways people routinely "buy time." Have them describe what events, activities, etc. are normally going on at their homes during a typical weekday evening while the dinner meal is being prepared. Who prepares it? Who helps? Are convenience foods used? Do they order out or carry in? How often?
It won't take long for your students to realize that "food" is one area where the willingness to pay a higher price for a faster result crosses all income brackets, and all the different family configurations represented by the class.
Discuss the concept of "fast food" and have students determine which is better -- food that is simply fast or good food that is simple and fast to make. Discuss the time and energy required to prepare food in the pressure cooker as contrasted with other cooking methods.
Distribute the "Fast Food" worksheet. Divide the class into cooking groups, and assign each group a recipe to prepare. Before they begin to cook, you may want to quickly review the pressure cooking method. Make sure they have "The Pressure Cooking Method" and "Pressure Pointers" handouts, and the instruction book for the pressure cookers they are using.
While the foods are cooking, students should consult a cookbook to discover the time it would take to cook their dish using other methods. If time permits, have some groups prepare recipes using another cooking method to provide time and taste comparisons.
When the foods have been cooked, set up a "buffet" for students to sample each of the foods. Evaluate them for flavor, texture, appearance, and cost.
Discuss what other foods should accompany each dish to make a nutritious family meal or party meal.
Discuss the time and energy required to prepare the fast food in the pressure cooker as contrasted with other cooking methods.
Follow Up: Have the class compile a list of their favorite foods. Examine the list to identify foods which can be cooked in the pressure cooker to save time and energy.
Discuss the ways the pressure cooker fits into contemporary lifestyles.
Students might create short skits or write newspaper articles about how the pressure cooker helps get a meal on the table in minutes.
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