Blog Post

New Publication Alert: We Eat! A Student-Centered Cookbook

Black & White cover of We Eat: a Student-Centered Cookbook, edited by Dree-el Simmons and Tatiana Ades

I am so excited to announce that our recent Futures Initiative publication We Eat: A Student:Centered Cookbook is now available to read on Manifold App. This pedagogical experiment in mindful and experiential learning resulted in a stunning collection of student stories, memories, photos, and recipes. Dreamed up by the brilliant Dree-el Simmons, the collection came out of our shift to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic during the Spring 2020 semester of Intro to Engaged Teaching & Transformative Learning. All students final projects included a public-facing element, exercising some of the core values in our course around accessible and open-resources. Dree-el Simmons' innovative and unique idea showcases a sense of commitment to transformative pedagogy and community.

With a foreword by Dr. Cathy N. Davidson, an introduction by Dree-el Simmons, and a collaborative effort by students and scholars in the class, We Eat is both reflection on the imaginative possibilities of student-centered pedagogy, a showcase of resilience and community during a time of crisis, and an exercise in meaningful epistemologies that ground and sustain us.

We Eat: A Student-Centered Pedagogy grew out of the following lesson from our student-led class on mindful and experiential learning.

CLASS PROMPT: Please, share a favorite, personal recipe and tell us its story.

  • If possible, provide a recipe that is part of your culture/heritage.
  • Include a complete ingredient list and full preparation instructions – if possible.
  • If you don’t cook, try and talk to your favorite family’s cook and see what you can come up with. (As a last resort, Google and find a recipe to post that intrigues you— and tell us why it does).
  • Tell us something about your recipe: Is cooking something that you do? Is it something someone else does for you (which means we may not actually know a recipe)? How do you relate to ingredients— do you measure them or do it by feel, intuition, or habit?  Is there a family story or experience or moment you want to share? Think about the emotional experience(s) that happen around food. How a taste, texture, smell, ingredient, etc. can remind you of or bring you back to a memory, experience, moment, lesson, feeling, representations, etc. What is the significance of the ingredients? What did it feel like to do this exercise?

Please give it a read and try out the lesson in your own classes! Comment here or tweet to let us know if you give it a go!

Contributors: Anjelica M. Enaje, Cathy N. Davidson, Dree-el Simmons, Elizabeth S. Che, Francisco Alejandro Verdiza Medina, Jessica Brodsky, Kendra Sullivan, Lucien Baskin, Nik Valdez, Offer Egozy, Raoul Roberts, Tatiana Ades, Yaneth M. Lombana, & Zach Muhlbauer.

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