Week 1 - Cereal Grains
Throughout the world, the harvest of the main cereal crop—typically wheat, corn, or rice—has always been the occasion for celebration. Many harvest-related customs have their origin in the animistic belief in a spirit such as the Corn Mother or Rice Mother, and the semiworship of the last sheaf was the great feature of the harvest home.
This Week's Family Main Activity:
Join in on the global harvest celebration, by sharing a family meal that consists of wheat, corn, and/or rice. Complete this by sharing the importance of these grains with your dinner companions.
This Week’s Family Song
Harvest Moon by Chris and Meredith Thompson
This Week Family Story
The Little Red Hen is an American fable first collected by Mary Mapes Dodge in St. Nicholas Magazine in 1874.The story is meant to teach children the importance of hard work and personal initiative.
This Week’s Family Arts & Crafts Activity
Rice: Here, we celebrate rice in its plethora of culinary forms - and you can have my essential risotto recipe for free (described by real Italians as “buonissimo”)! Read on to discover the rice facts you never thought you’d need to know.
Unsurprisingly, Asia - the home of rice domestication - accounts for 90% of global rice consumption. However, this hasn’t stopped rice from becoming a truly global grain and satiating an international palate. Not just a staple crop in some of the most severely food-stricken regions of the planet, rice provides significant calories for some of the the world’s poorest people, for whom even wheat - something taken for granted in the Western world with our crusty ciabatte and buttery brioches - is a precious luxury. Read more…
Wheat: Ever wondered why cultures can be so different, with Westerners more focused on the individual than people in the East? Psychologists said Thursday that the divide may come down to which crops are historically farmed in different regions. This “rice theory,” described in the journal Science, holds that people who traditionally grow paddy rice become more collective and holistic over time because of the intense labor involved and the need for cooperation among neighbors. Read more…
Corn: For Mexicans, maize is not a crop but a deep cultural symbol intrinsic to daily life. Corn was domesticated from a grass called teocintle by the peoples of Meso-America approximately 10,000 years ago. Often referred to as humanity’s greatest agronomic achievement, maize is now grown all over the world. The yellow corn commonly found in the United States pales in comparison to the shapes, sizes, and colors of the traditional maize varieties cultivated by the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The ears of corn may range from a couple of inches to a foot long, in colors that include white, red, yellow, blue, and black. Some varieties even have an assortment of colors on one ear. Read more...
Go to Week 3 - Cornucopia