Food Section

The FOOD section has something for everyone. It provides readers with a variety of articles on the latest in food preparation and trends, new kitchen equipment and technology, cooking techniques, recipes, supermarket advertisements and coupons.

Every Wednesday the lively mix of food news, personalities, cooking classes and what to do in the metropolitan area can delight the connoisseur and encourage the novice chef. Meals and foods reflect the season and appeal to changing diets.

The FOOD section will be popular with learners of all ages and achievement levels. Most everyone has an interest in food. There are many aspects about food for which this section of the newspaper can act as a resource:

•putting food together (meal planning and recipes),

•buying food (making good choices, using sales and coupons),

•preparing food (new kitchen tools and equipment, special aids and cooking methods),

•special foods (exotic dishes, ethnic cooking, trends, “new” foods).

The teacher might consider the following strategies for introducing the FOOD section and overviewing its content.

Ask students to share with the class (or with a small group) the menu for the last meal or snack eaten outside of school. As a part of their description and discussion, students might consider:

•how the food was prepared (stove top, oven, microwave, ready to eat),

•what equipment was needed to prepare the food (mixer, blender, toaster, oven, pans, pots, microwave, grill),

•how much the meal or snack would (or did) cost (estimated),

•who prepared the food (mother,father, self, restaurant, chef),

•if the food eaten is associated with a particular ethnic group, city, geographic region, or country (Italian, Mexican, Southern, “soul” food),

•had they tasted that particular food before and why they chose it again,

•whether the meal (or snack) would be considered “healthy,”

•who made the choices for the meal or snack; i.e., the preparer(s) or the consumer(s).

Can/did students find any articles, features or advertisements about the food(s) eaten as part of the most recent out-of-school meal or snack described to the small group?

As students browse through the FOOD section, they can be asked to note which articles/features address preparing foods which

•focus on health and diets,

•are about food costs,

•are about new foods or eating trends,

•feature ethnic cuisines and cooking.

The FOOD section allows for consumer education and mathematic connections within real world experiences. Estimation strategies in computation and the opportunity to interpret and communicate reasonable solutions are all part of the possibilities using FOOD as a resource.

For more study of food origins, see Ancient Civilizations in Today’s World (includes a word find of food that originated in China and Central Asia and Word Study of fruits eaten by ancient civilizations).

In addition to these suggestions, specific exercises have also been designed for the use of  FOOD.


Highlights of Food

DINNER IN [ ] MINUTES Recipes for quick and easy entrees

TO DO A listing of upcoming food events, book signings, bits of food gossip, and general food-related issues.

DISH News of local restaurants

TOM SIETSEMA The Washington Post’s Restaurant Critic






WINE What to serve and what to serve with it; answers to questions from the wine-perplexed



Basic Measurements and Math


Use the FOOD section to introduce students to basic measurements and fractions. What is the difference between a teaspoon of salt and a half cup of salt? If you use a tablespoon of flour and a cup of vanilla, how will the recipe change? If you have twice as many people coming to dinner than the recipe provides for, do students know how to double the recipe?

Use the reproducible, “Hibiscus Cooler,” for the Level 3 exercise.


1.  Have students collect recipes they like from inside the FOOD section. Discuss the major ingredients in each recipe.

• Identify the two recipes having the largest number of ingredients.

• Identify the two recipes having the fewest number of ingredients.

• Select one recipe and revise the amount of each ingredient to serve three times as many people as the recipe calls for.

• Select another recipe and revise the amount of each ingredient to serve half as many people as the recipe calls for.

For each recipe, have students indicate, with the following symbols, the meal at which they would like the recipe served:

B = Breakfast

L = Lunch

D = Dinner

S = Snack

N = Never choose for any meal.


2.  Have students select a recipe from FOOD that they would like to make. Work with students to differentiate cups from teaspoons and tablespoons.

To prepare students for the activity, practice with these fractions:

•Show students measuring cups for 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup. Ask students to place them in order from largest to smallest. Then ask them to label with the correct size.

•Do a similar comparison with 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon.

Firehouse Food: Cooking with San Francisco’s Firefighters was featured in FOOD’s “Dinner in 25 Minutes.” Ask students which measuring spoon or cup they would use for the following items in the recipe for Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce.

•1 teaspoon green curry paste

•2 tablespoons fish sauce

•1 tablespoon lime juice

•1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

•2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

•2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

The recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs. What would they use to get the Correct amount of chicken?

The recipe also calls for 6 wedges of lime. How would students slice the lime to get six almost equal slices?


3.  Select a recipe from FOOD to teach equivalency of measurements. A reproducible with a sample recipe and questions is provided to assist you. Use it during a study of our southwest or Mexico or during a study of edible plants to support mathematics skills.

Hibiscus Cooler, a rose-colored take on iced tea — actually more like an adult version of Kool-Aid — is made by steeping hibiscus flowers or tea in hot water. Hibiscus flowers can be found in some natural food stores and Mexican grocery stores.

Answers: 1. 4; 2. 2; 3. No, one quart is equivalent to 4 cups; 4. None; 5. Yes, unless someone wants a sweeter beverage; 6. one half gallon; 7. 4, one quart is equivalent to 2 pints; 8. 1 1/2 oz.


Academic Content Standards and Skills



Mathematics, Knowledge of Measurement, Students will read and measure in customary and metric units. Grade 5, Use equivalent units of seconds, minutes, and hours or pints, quarts, and gallons.


Mathematics, Measurement, The student will estimate and then use actual measuring devices with metric and U.S. Customary units to measure liquid volume.

Washington, D.C.

Mathematics, Grade 4, Number and Operation, The student describes and compares quantities by using concrete and real world models of simple fractions.

Fundamental Aim:

Reinforce Performing a Task

Sub-skill Reinforcement:

Following directions, identifying, locating information, categorizing, decision making, evaluating, drawing conclusions

Balanced Meals at Home


At the beginning of the 21st Century, it was estimated that between 61-65 percent of Americans were overweight or obese. Overweight in children and adolescents is generally caused by lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of the two, with genetics and lifestyle both playing important roles in determining a child’s weight.

Have students collect recipes over a four-week period from the FOOD section in order to prepare for the following exercise.

Web resources that will be of help in these exercises include:

Surgeon General’s Office:

Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity:

Healthfinder Kids:

Get Kids in Action:


Department of Health and Human Services:


1.  Using their knowledge of the basic food groups (grain, vegetable, fruit, milk and meat), students should plan menus that have balanced nutritional value and choose a snack that is healthy. In support of this exercise, students should read articles related to nutrition in the FOOD and HEALTH AND SCIENCE sections.

Organize the menus and recipes by breakfast, lunch and dinner and snack suggestions. Students may supplement FOOD section recipes with ones from home.

Students could individually or in a group organize their suggestions into an eating well booklet. Be sure that credit is given to the source of recipes. They can apply their keyboarding skills to create the booklet.

Extension: The school nurse, culinary arts instructor and/ or family living specialist could visit the class to review the basic food groups and/or act as evaluators of each menu’s nutritional value and balance.


2.  As an increasing number of Americans, adult and youth, are obese, more research has been done on the relation of health care costs to obesity. “In 2000, health care costs related to obesity were about $117 billion,” Surgeon General Richard Carmona reported in The Washington Post on July 21, 2003. According to The Post article, “[N]early 9 million American children, about 15 percent of those age 6 to 19, are seriously overweight.”

This exercise focuses on the role of nutrition in keeping healthy and growing into a wise weight.

During a four-week period, have students collect recipes of interest from FOOD. Students will paste each recipe on an index card, then divide the recipes into the following categories: Meat, Fish, Appetizers, Salads and Desserts.

From the collection of recipes, select recipes to create a lunch menu. Estimate the calorie count per serving.

Ask students to compare and contrast the food calorie count in their planned lunch menu with a fast food lunch. Fast-food restaurants for which students can calculate the calories and fat they consume are Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, Subway, Taco Bell and Wendy’s.

Which menu provides the lowest calorie count? The least fat intake? Which menu provides the healthiest meal?

Review the collected recipes to create a low calorie, appealing dinner. Ask students to write an article that relates the importance of nutrition to health and introduces these recipes for an appetizing and healthy dinner. Submit theseto the student newspaper.

Extension: You might invite your school nurse or another health or nutrition specialist into your classroom to talk about the importance of nutrition and diet.


3.  In 2003 Surgeon General Carmona gave about 50 children from Washington area YMCAs the title “junior assistant surgeons general” and told them to tell their families, friends, teachers and others to stay physically active and to eat right.

Tell your students they are “junior assistant surgeons general.” They are part of the initiative to educate students, parents and members of their community to eat healthy meals and to get exercise. Brainstorm what students should be told about foods to eat at meals and for snacks, what quantity of food to consume and how to change their habits to drink more water and milk. What are ways to get more exercise and physical activity?

Read the FOOD and HEALTH AND SCIENCE sections of The Washington Post. What recipes, exercises and other information would be good for students to know? What foods featured in FOOD should others be encouraged to eat? Have students create a column in their student newspaper that focuses on food. If you do not have a student newspaper, can you create a bulletin board in the cafeteria to “publish” healthy eating information?

Teachers may wish to review the Get Kids in Action Web site at It includes sections “For Parents,” “For Kids,” “News” and “Links.” The Get Kids in Action, initiative includes research, education and outreach.

Caution: In children and teens, body mass index (BMI) is used to assess underweight, overweight and risk for overweight. Since boys and girls differ in their body fatness as they mature, there are gender and age specific measures. As children grow, their body fatness changes. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has information online for calculating BMI for children 2 to 20 years of age.


Academic Content Standards and Skills



Reading/English Language Arts, Students will select and read to gain information from personal interest materials, such as brochures, books, magazines, cookbooks, catalogues and Web sites.


English, Grade 4, The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of nonfiction. Summarize content of selection, identifying important ideas and providing details for each important idea.

Washington, D.C.

Science, Grade 7, Life Science, The student uses food labels and references to create an analysis of their own diet for one week. Compares diet to calculated energy needs and FDA recommendations.

Fundamental Skill:

Reinforce Interpreting

Sub-skill Reinforcement:

Locating information, categorizing, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, decision making


Keeping a Budget


Creating and living by a budget are basic consumer skills. Making comparisons of foods at regular price, on sale and with applicable coupons are real life activities.

Have students locate and scan the grocery advertisements in the FOOD section and/or in the Sunday print edition to prepare for this exercise. This exercise can be done individually or in groups.

1.  Have students compare the major grocery advertisements in FOOD to find:

•Where the least expensive meat or poultry can be found (use the price per pound).

•Where the least expensive six-pack of soda (any brand) can be found. Compare and contrast the store brand with others.

•Where to find the least expensive cold cereal (per pound or ounce).

Have students find the location of the closest of each grocery store in the comparison.

•Which of these stores is closest to the student’s home?

•Does the location of the store influence where food is purchased? How much lower must the price be to be worth driving more than five miles further?

•Is the cost of fuel and extra time an important part of the decision of where to purchase groceries? Is public transportation being near the grocery another factor (for those who do not own a car)?


2.  Have students select three grocery store advertisements and choose similar foods advertised by each store. Foods would include meat, fish, dairy and produce. Total each category and compare the costs. Design a chart or graph to illustrate the students’ findings. Be sure the students keep in mind weights, volumes and coupons available that may affect the price total. Be sure to include sales tax, if applicable.


Extension: Students can review non-grocery items from the grocery store advertisements to determine how these items impact the cost of “groceries.” Where else can these items be purchased and why are they available in a grocery store? Add the category “non-grocery items” to the chart or graph. How does this category affect the total cost? Have the students explain their findings.


3.  Using a weekly grocery budget of $100.00, have students consider how to allocate this money for meals for themselves and a friend. Students should “shop” in two grocery stores. They must plan a menu for seven days (breakfast, lunch and dinner). These meals must be nutritionally balanced.

Using the grocery advertisements to locate foods that have the most reasonable prices, have students make a shopping list of the foods they will buy:

•The cost of each item on the shopping list should be listed next to the item.

•Students should keep in mind that, if they need more than one package of an item, they must multiply the advertised cost by the number of packages bought.

•They should indicate the stores where the items were purchased.

•Add the total cost of the purchases and tax.

•Deduct this cost from their $100.00 grocery budget.

Have students share their planned meals and budgets.

•With whom would most members of the class want to eat?

•Who has the most healthy menus planned?

•Who has creative meals within the $100 budget?

•Who had money left to buy snacks or to go to a movie?


Academic Content Standards and Skills



Mathematics, Knowledge of Statistics, Students will collect, organize, display, analyze, or interpret data to make decisions or predictions.


Mathematics, Computation and Estimation, The student will solve consumer application problems involving tips, discounts, sales tax and simple interest.

Washington, D.C.

Reading/English Language Arts, Grade 4, Language as Meaning Making, The student reads and uses functional texts (e.g. instructions, directions, schedules, advertisements, signs, etc.).

Fundamental Aim:

Reinforce Interacting

Sub-skill Reinforcement:

Following directions, identifying, decision making, comparing and contrasting, analyzing, drawing conclusions

What’s Happening — in Foods and Life?


We are a consumer society. Use the FOOD section to get a picture of who the metropolitan area consumers are based upon what they eat, the classes they may attend and why they have only minutes to fix a meal.

Have students locate the FOOD section to prepare for the following exercises. These exercises can be done individually or in groups.

1.  Lead students in a discussion of the cover story of FOOD. Begin by using the illustrations, headlines and cutlines to have students predict what the article is about. Students can then read the first two or three paragraphs (or more if necessary) to determine if their assumptions about the story were correct.

For example: A past issue had a mouth-watering steak pictured below the headline “Done Well: The Steak Story.” The article began, “For many of us, a great steak is a symbol of America: from Delmonico’s or Morton’s of Chicago to the steak and chop houses of Kansas City and the West. Ask us what we want for dinner and a big steak is sure to top the list.” Are students surprised that the article is about selecting a steak that is a “cut above” and cooking the steak?

Have students complete reading the article

•What does the focus of the article reveal about people who live in the metropolitan area?

•Do the foods reflect the economic health of the area?

•Do the foods reflect the ethnic diversity of the area?

•What values are reflected in the focus of the article?

Extension: Students may want to create a new graphic for the front page to illustrate their understanding of the subject matter. They may need to read more of the story to help with the details of their illustration.


2. and 3.  FOOD cover stories reflect current food trends and interests. Have students prepare a report on one of the following:

•Trends in “pop” foods

•Styles of cooking

•Types of food

•Special ethnic foods

•New foods on the market

•Most recent scientific study of food

Students should consider surveying their teachers, family members, school cafeteria manager and food service employees for additional information on the topic.

Students may need to use other articles from magazines or books in addition to the FOOD section to support their thesis.


Academic Content Standards and Skills



Reading/English Language Arts, Students will compose to inform using summary and selection of major points.


English, Writing, The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of informational sources. Summarize what is read. Organize and synthesize information for use in written and oral presentation.

Washington, D.C.

Social Studies, Grade 9, Scientific, Technological and Economic Change, The student compares how values and beliefs influence economic decisions in different societies.

Fundamental Aim:

Reinforce Interpreting

Sub-skill Reinforcement:

Locating information, comparing and contrasting, finding the main idea, identifying, drawing conclusions, decision making

Lunch at School


It is important for students to eat three healthy meals a day. Do most students bring their own lunches or eat the school cafeteria-prepared meals? These exercises focus on the lunch meals eaten at school.

Teachers may wish to use the online resource “Healthy School Meals Resource System” found at In addition to recipes and menus, regulations and food safety, the site provides a list of chefs across the country, including in the metropolitan area, who are interested in working with schools to deliver food and nutrition messages.

Have students locate the FOOD section to prepare for this exercise. This exercise may be extended over a period of time and can be done individually or in groups.


1.  Have students who bring their lunches from home review them and place contents in the five food groups. Have students who eat the school lunch review the school’s lunch menu for the week. Place items offered into the five food groups (grain, vegetable, fruit, milk and meat). Evaluate how balanced the meals are.

Have the students browse through the colorful food ads in FOOD to develop a list of foods found in a specific food group that might be added to the school’s lunch fare.

Extension: Students may have an opportunity to visit a grocery store to explore for certain food groups and to learn of foods that reflect international cuisine.


2.  Survey the student body at your school or students in a particular grade level. You might form questions based on information from online resources:

Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Eating:

Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity:

Healthfinder Kids:

Get Kids in Action:

Questions might include true/false, multiple choice and short answer responses. Make it easy to tabulate accurately. Some possible items to include are:


•One can eat as much low-fat, low-calorie foods as one likes. (false)

•Snack foods have little nutritional value. (depends on what you eat for snacks)

•The number of hours that I watch television per day has no effect on my weight. (false)

•Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. (true)

Multiple Choice

Enjoying healthy foods is one step to maintaining a healthy weight. Which of these is the better choice:

•When I am thirsty, I should drink:

a. sports drink, b. soft drink, c. water, d. fruit juice drink

•When I want a snack, I should eat

a. a cookie, b. an apple, c. one handful of chips, d. ice cream

Short Answer

•How many calories per day should someone of your age and weight consume?

•Of the following items that may be added to the lunch menu, which do you prefer: (Here students would add several choices that reflect some of the possible additions to the school lunch menu.)


3.  Have students create a menu for a new food service venture (international day, a theme-restaurant décor and foods, foods to correspond with the school play’s time period).

Lead students in a discussion to generate reasonable suggestions for changes in the school menu. In creating the menu, students should review not only recipes found in the FOOD section, but also articles related to food trends and advertisements (for economic considerations). Students should keep in mind:

•The cost of foods or ingredients necessary for the proposed change (The advertising in the FOOD section can be of help);

•The nutritional value (Articles on nutrition from FOOD as well as the students’ science and health textbooks could be of help in making this determination).

•The project could benefit from a survey of students and other potential patrons regarding food and, if appropriate, decor/theme preferences. Teachers or students might go online to visit:

Nutrition Explorations: (This site includes information for educators, parents

and school food service personnel.)

American School Food Service Association:

The school’s cafeteria manager or the school system’s food services supervisor can be invited to the class to respond to the suggested changes and additions to the school lunch program.

Extension: A sampling of the menus from various restaurants can suggest illustrations, formats and type of dishes that could be added.


Academic Content Standards and Skills



Reading/English Language Arts, Students will read, comprehend, draw conclusions and inferences and make generalizations and predictions from text. Apply text for personal use or content-specific use.


English, Reading/Literature, The student will comprehend what is read from a variety of sources. Evaluate and synthesize information to apply in written and oral presentations.

Washington, D.C.

Science, Grade 9, Life Science, The student will examine the FDA recommendations and other data to know that food provides energy and materials for growth and repair of body parts.

Fundamental Skill:

Reinforce Developing Positive Attitudes and Personal Interests

Sub-skill Reinforcement:

Identifying, locating information, comparing and contrasting, evaluating, decision making, analyzing