I’m here today to rave about my delightful, hilarious, compassionate, and brilliant chef friend Jenni Field, who offers up her chef-ish secrets for free on her website, in blog posts and charming kitchen-based videos. Jenni, who regularly buys items to give away to her readers, recently came up with a super idea to spread her passion for her most beloved swirly cake pan. She couldn’t afford to buy enough of them to just give them away to whoever wanted them, so she decided to send hers on a transcontinental trip, so that it could experience baking love from many hands in many, many states. She announced her plans on facebook and her website, and to date, she has 172 participants from 48 states and Canada (come on New Mexico and South Dakota!). She calls her newly formed community “Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan.”
The pan will travel from participant to participant, and each person will bake something in the swirly cake pan, photograph it, share it with the swirly pan community, and then send it on to the next person. A beautiful way to connect the world, don’t you think?
As I was signing up to participate, it occurred to me that this was a fantastic learning opportunity as well. Jenni thinks the pan can rotate to approximately 30 people per year, so she estimates its journey will last more than 5 years. How cool for us homeschoolers, parents, teachers, grandparents, and other folks who love learning to jump on board and follow its progress?
There are so many ways to hook this into our educational plans.
1. Geography: Set up a map and chart the progress. Mark the map with sticker stars as the pan travels from state to state.
2. Cooking/Math: Observe and discuss the different cakes being baked in the same pan. Try some new recipes!
3. Culture: On your map, indicate what kind of cake was made at each stop. Are there cultural themes? Do northerners bake different types of cakes than southerners? Westerners vs. easterners? Or are we all homogenized due to readily available ingredients and an integrated population?
4. Creativity: Discuss the variety of approaches to the same pan that are dependent on perspective. Broaden that discussion to embrace other topics – worldviews, art, religion, politics, music, reading, fashion – you name it.
5. Community: This is fabulous opportunity to get to know new folks and invite friends and family you already know from around the country. Jenni has provided ample venues for connection, including Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. If we had enough kids involved, perhaps they could continue their correspondence throughout the pan’s 5+ year long journey.
What other ways can you think of to use this project to enhance your education? Let me know – or more importantly, let Jenni know when you sign up!