Bonjour! This past week found us in France. Ok...Ok...so we were really only over at the Deputy's house for our bi-monthly book club...but it felt like France for a few hours.
The morning started off with a read through of Anatole, a sweet, whimsical picture book by Eve Titus.
After learning that scrounging and stealing food scraps is a dishonorable practice, Anatole, a Parisian mouse, resolves to EARN his daily keep. He takes up residence in a local cheese factory and begins a nightly ritual of "rating" all of the different cheeses. After heeding his culinary suggestions, the factory owners find that their business begins to boom. They are so grateful to the mysterious cheese connoisseur that they make him an official cheese "taste tester."
After reading the book together, the kids got to look at a few famous French phrases and songs that are commonly used in America including the translations for the childhood favorites "Frere Jacques" and "Alouette."
They also had a brief discussion on what it takes to become a "connoisseur" of something.
After learning the basic ingredients and recipes for making cheese, the kids spent the rest of the morning using their taste buds in a cheese sampling.
The Deputy's wife passed out a "taste test" sheet that had a gradient scale of faces from frowns all the way to big grins. Under each face was also an expressive word to describe the magnitude of "like" or "dislike" towards each cheese sample.
Before the samples were passed out, she had a brief discussion to encourage the kids to complete the test in silence so that no one's opinions could be influenced by the person next to him/her. The kid's took this suggested to heart and completed the entire test with such formality and seriousness that not a peep was heard.
She passed out one sample at a time. Although she provided a few "everyday" varieties of cheese like sharp cheddar, she mostly included more gourmet varieties like bleu cheese.
After tasting the sample, the kids circled one of the five faces that represented that particular round of samples.
The Deputy's wife also shared a few thoughts on table manners and what to do/say when you are served something that you do not care for.
At the end of the sampling, the kids took turns sharing their results/opinions about each cheese. Not surprising, the bleu cheese was the biggest "flop" of the day.
I'm hoping that this introduction of refined flavors will help to expand our horizons around the dinner table here at The Unlikely Homeschool. We shall see...