Yet another of the many reasons I love homeschooling. Zander and I were reading in his Peoples Around The World book today and came to the section on food and cooking. He was really fascinated by the different foods eaten- and how they are prepared. In particular he was really taken aback by the woman from Africa who’s “kitchen” was simply outside of the home. We read about how they would take millet and pound it to make flour, and then turn that into a porridge for meals. After we read about the millet, we read about couscous, and it occurred to me that I had both millet and couscous in the house, I should show Zander what they look like.
So we looked and touched, and then I saw my mortar and pestle, and we just had to try making our own millet flour with it. I dumped about a tablespoon of millet into the mortar, and the kids took turns trying to pound it into flour (because, of course, Abigail was not going to sit aside and watch us have fun with this experiment).
It took more work than they expected. Honestly, it took more than I expected, and in the process we ended up with millet all over the carpet too. We finally had something that resembled flour and decided to add water and cook it up into a little cake to sample. We had to add a little whole wheat flour because Zander dumped in too much water at first, but it worked, and it fried up quickly.
It was not tasty, though the millet definitely added a sweetness to the cake, as well as a nice texture. I, of course, couldn’t help but begin thinking of a million ways to improve upon the flavor of this cake. Abigail thought it reminded her of a soft cracker- but it was bland and needed seasoning. Zander didn’t even finish his small bite, and declared that he couldn’t believe people in the world ate such bland food.
That led into a delightful discussion about what we would actually eat if our choice was to eat something we didn’t care for, or die of starvation. It was a great life lesson, and I am very happy that we found something fun to wrap up our first school week with. It’s been a long week for me, and I hope next week will go much better.