Monday, February 11, 2013
Well, they always say that it's healthier to eat many small meals than a couple of big ones, but today I had about 100 bite sized ones!
Every year, our world language department celebrates carnival by having the students make food and posters about the countries they are studying. It's a lot of fun - the students research information and recipes, and they attempt to make the food items; sometimes with awesome, other times with comical results (the cinnamon stars ended up almost round, but they tasted good anyway). Everyone, including the teachers, visits the different booths and samples foods from German, Spanish, and Italian speaking countries, looks at the posters, and meets new people. We all enjoy it.
Of course, I score the projects, and strictly speaking, I don't have to sample the foods, but the kids would be terribly disappointed if I didn't. They were all so proud of their creations, and since I'm from Germany and told them it was just as good (and some of the foods even better) than what I had eaten growing up made them feel proud, and it made the country more real.
I had bite-sized samples of almost everying; for the really sugary stuff like cookies I broke off a piece no bigger than a nickel, and I actually kept my blood sugar in check. There is no way I can list all of it, so for the first time in almost 3 months, I'm just gonna ballpark it and enter 1500 calories and 150g carbs; that sounds about right.
Here are some of the foods and beverages we had:
- Wiener Schnitzel (pork, breaded)
- Jaegerschnitzel (venison, with mushroom sauce)
- bratwurst and sauerkraut
- potato casserole (a German grandma's secret recipe!)
- baked salmon (the kid actually drove 40 miles to a fish market that flies in fresh fish daily - it was unbelievable!)
- Frikadellen (meatballs)
- Brezeln (homemade pretzels)
- bread with homemade hazelnut spread - better than Nutella!
- potato salad
- Hungarian goulash (Austria-Hungary was one empire at one time, and many people spoke each other's language, so it counts)
- Black Forest Cake (non-alcoholic version, of course)
- all kinds of cookies
- Rouladen (rolled-up beef)
- Spaetzle (egg noodles) and Kaesspaetzle (Spaetzle with cheese)
- Zwiebelrostbraten (roast with onions - it came out so tough, but the kids were proud of it and ate it nevertheless)
- different varieties of cheesecakes
- German pancakes (similar to crepes)
- Kaiserschmarren (similar to the pancakes, but sweeter)
- iced coffee (ice cream, coffee, chocolate)
- Spezi (Cola and Fanta mixed)
And that's just a small selection! The kids really did well; there were even foods that I had never heard of, because they were from different parts of the German speaking world that I am not as familiar with, so the event mixed favorites from growing up with new experiences. I basically ate all day, but as you can see from the list, there was actually a lot of variety - meats, flour-based foods, potato-based foods, desserts - and it was pretty balanced throughout. I was actually exhausted at the end of the day from eating and scoring - no breakfast, lunch, or dinner for me!
I had really good conversations with the kids and found out a lot of things about them and their projects; I always want to know my students well, and this helps them showcase a totally different skill from the regular classroom.
I'm always open about my life with my students, and they all know I'm diabetic, so nobody was offended when I didn't sample really sugary things or had a tiny portion. One of my students whose grandpa has diabetes even joked with me and said: "You can't have any, you're diabetic!" At which point I showed him my medication and told him that was my secret weapon. (I had to take it with food, so that's why I took it at work today.) We all had a good laugh. I have one student who has type 1 diabetes; luckily, her sugars happened to be very low today, so she was able to eat all she wanted, and she did - she even came back at the end of the day for more. I told her that sometimes, a disease where food is medicine has its perks, and she laughed.
It's important to me that my students feel comfortable about health problems and learn about them; several of them listed the carb count for me, brought sugar-free pop, or carefully put a piece aside without powdered sugar on it.
If people wonder why I teach, days like this are the reason!