Teaching a New Generation About Food

A couple of years ago, I visited Boston to see my grandkids. My daughter signed me up to be the guest mystery reader for my granddaughter’s second grade class. A few days in advance the teacher posts a few clues about the mystery reader and the students have to try to guess whose (of their classmates’) family members might be the mystery reader!

My daughter told me that Siya, my granddaughter, came home after the clues were posted in her classroom and asked, “Mom, is Naani (me) writing a cookbook?” to which my daughter replied, “yes, she is!” but as soon as she realized this may give away the mystery reader, my daughter tried to throw my granddaughter off the trail. Siya is very bright, “Well, it has to be either Naani or you mom!”

I surprised my granddaughter and her classmates in her classroom and talked a little bit about my cultural history and what I do for work. The kids were so engaged and asked so many intelligent questions! They asked me, “How do you write a cookbook?” I told them first you have to develop your recipes, then you take many photos of the foods, then you have someone test your recipes, then you design your book and decide what you want it to look like, then have an editor, and then you publish it! The kids were amazed.

They also asked me about Ayurveda and its ancient methods of cooking and lifestyle. They asked if I was born in India, which I was; they asked if my kids were born in India, which they were not, they were born in Fort Collins, CO. They heard that I get up every morning at 5:00 am and asked me if this was true. “Yes” I replied, “I get up every morning to do my prayers and my yoga before I start the day.”

I had such a great time visiting them, I could read to kids all day every day! On this particular day we read a book that I hadn’t heard of before called Piggy Pie by Margie Palatini. This book was adorable, the main character was cooking a recipe and had to go out to find the ingredients! The author took several of the classic favorites like Little Red Riding Hood, Old MacDonald, and The Three Little Pigs and created a hysterical journey that not only makes the kids laugh but the adults as well. One of our favorite parts was that Old MacDonald’s phone number was E-I-E-I-O!

What a wonderful day!