Thursday, 19 July 2012

Pork and the Final Parsnip

Photo Courtesy of Photo Pin
Our final parsnip comes with a generous helping of pork. How you serve it up depends entirely on you and your teaching context.

Food Inc

I recently watched Food Inc and haven't quite regained my appetite yet. This documentary film examines America's food industry and, with pretty gruesome footage of slaughterhouses, it is not for the faint hearted. However, a short and judiciously chosen extract could provide some meaty classroom fodder for the question: Where does our food come from?

What I, personally, took away from this film was the resolve to read food labels more carefully. In an ESOL class this would be a useful and empowering exercise for learners. Too many of us are consuming way more sugar and salt than we should be, and we are often duped by the cunning wiles of companies which sell us healthy looking fruit juice and yoghurt loaded with sinister ingredients. ESOL learners are more vulnerable to the food industry's cunning ploys than most, and therefore benefit from a little input in deciphering labels.

There is an excellent lesson on the ESOL Nexus website which looks at "traffic light" labels on food packaging. Find it at:

A Great Bacon Sandwich

Does all this sound too depressing for you? If you teach a class of pork eating carnivores, digest this recipe for the perfect bacon sandwich. I have yet to encounter a meat eater who does not have a fixed opinion on the best method and ingredients required to achieve this culinary delight, and cultural variations should provide an interesting discussion here.

Porky and Beautiful

This post would not have felt complete without a mention of my very favourite pig. Here's a lovely little clip to lift the mood mid lesson.

The Last Parsnip

Thanks to all of you who have read and commented on these posts here and on Twitter: I've had fun writing them.  Do let me know if you have any Parsnip successes in your own classes: I'd love to hear from you.



  1. As I write this, I smell the bacon-frying of my Hungarian friends downstairs. Yum!
    With pork and religion you need to tread sensitively but, in some circumstances, this video by Alom Shaha might stimulate conversation:

    Another inspiring post - thank you, Genny.

  2. Hello Clive,

    Nice to hear from you! And thanks so much for the link to this great clip: loads of food for discussion there. Having watched all that sizzling bacon, I'm definitely in need of a wee blt sandwich now...

    Lucky you having Hungarian friends so nearby - I lived in Szentes for three years and am a big fan of Hungarian food!

    Thanks again for dropping by! :)