Throwdown with Tommy J., Early American Food Star
Author InfoRobin Pulido
St. Rose of Lima School
278 Alvarado St. Unit 2
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Type of Lesson
Virginia Standards of Learning
US I.1- The student will demonstrate skills for historical and geographical analysis and responsible citizenship including the ability to
b.- make connections between the past and present.
US I.7- The student will demonstrate knowledge of the challenges faced by the new nation by
c.- describing the major accomplishments of the first five presidents.
Common Core State Standards
RH 6-8.7- Integrate visual information (eg., charts, graphs,photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
RH 6-8.8- Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
WHST 6-8.9- Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Students will examine some claims about Thomas Jefferson and his food "firsts" and determine which of the selected assertions can be backed up by evidence and which are folklore.
Students will select one of his recipes to add their own ethnic ingredients in the manner he had his cooks make meals "half Virginian, half French".
If possible, students will prepare their revised recipes for tasting.
Additional Learning Outcomes
What did Thomas Jefferson add to American cuisine and cooking techniques that can be backed up by evidence? Was he really an innovator, an adaptor, or someone who popularized foods? Was he more farm to table or an importer? Why do we call him a "founding foodie"?
Using pictures of Thomas Jefferson's kitchen, gardens, and dining items, introduce him as someone who enjoyed quality food and drink and that he built his home, Monticello, with that in mind. Ask students some questions to get them thinking. What is a "foodie"? From what you just saw, does it look like he was one? Who do you think did his cooking? Have you ever heard any claims about him introducing new foods or techniques to Americans?
In groups of three to four, have students mark their answer choices on the "Thomas Jefferson, Founding Foodie: Fact or Folklore" worksheet. (This could be projected instead and have one student record whole class results.)
Now read the evidence handout and revise answers using that newly acquired knowledge. For additional information, check out The Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia at monticello.org. which contains thirty- nine articles related to food and drink and the info sheets provided by classroom.monticello.org.
Using a recipe template and one of the recipes provided from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello collection, include other ingredients to make it "half-Virginian, half an ethnic group you love" in style.
If you can, try your new recipe out, taste it, and report your results to the class. (Optional)
Handouts and Downloads
- Evidence Handout for Thomas Jefferson, Founding Foodie: Fact or Folklore
- Thomas Jefferson, Founding Foodie: Fact or Folklore
- Throwdown with Tommy J., Early American Food Star
"Thomas Jefferson, Founding Foodie: Fact or Folklore" worksheet
"Throwdown with Tommy J., Early American Food Star" Recipe template
Info sheets on the recipes and people from classroom.monticello.org
Computers or handheld devices to access the resources at classroom.monticello.org and The Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia at monticello.org. A single computer connected to a projection system and interactive whiteboard could also work.
Students will revise their original decisions (fact v. folklore) after reading the evidence selections.
Students will turn in a copy of their revised recipe after sharing their ideas with other groups.
If possible, students will try their recipes for a taste test and report their results back to the class. (Keep in mind, some schools do not allow the sharing of home cooked foods nor do they allow students cooking opportunities at school.)