We started class this week by discussing the year 1776, when the thirteen colonies signed the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution came to an end. In what is now known as San Francisco, however, 1776 marked the arrival of the Spanish, who changed the landscape of our region forever. Students watched a short film featuring native voices discussing the idea of civilized vs. savage that accompanied the European colonialists. We introduced the idea of how food was used as a way to divide people (i.e. the European diet of bread, olives, and wine was deemed superior, while the indigenous diet, seen as coming from the dirt, was deemed inferior). We then showed a short video of olive oil production in Spain and talked about how many of the agricultural products California is now known for (e.g. olives and citrus) were originally brought here by the Spanish.
In the kitchen, the third graders made a wheatberry salad showcasing ingredients introduced to the Bay Area in the late 18th century. Many noted the strong flavor of the olives. (Like colonialism, they leave a lasting impression.)