The Old Schoolhouse magazine has asked me to
write a new column for their publication called the International
Schoolhouse. In the article, I get the chance to share with you
about the landscape, the history and the culture of the highlighted
country, in this case New Zealand. However, there is so much to
tell that simply overflows a 1500 word article that I have decided to
compile the remainder of the information as a unit study for you.
If you do not subscribe to the Old Schoolhouse,
you can read a sample issue here -
http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com. Or better yet, subscribe
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - and get the January issue this
month with the New Zealand article, plus many, many more wonderful
articles of encouragement. It is their best issue yet. Oh,
and did I mention that you get 19 free gifts with your subscription.
Okay, so now that you have read the article, it's
time to dive in for some hands-on learning to cement your student's
growing knowledge of this small but fascinating island country.
This is my favorite part - the
food from the land! If you do the above activities on Monday, Tuesday and
Wednesday, then take some time on either Thursday or Friday to whip up
some authentic New Zealand cuisine in the kitchen.
READING SELECTIONS -
Let's start with some extra reading. Listed below are some great
books about New Zealand, or set in New Zealand, that will provide many
hours of enjoyable reading. The links below will take you to
Amazon.com for more information, but you can find these at your local
library. Read for pleasure alone, or have your kids write a book
report on one of these selections.
New Zealand cuisine is characterized by its
freshness and diversity and has been described as Pacific Rim, drawing
inspiration from Europe, Asia, Polynesia and its indigenous people,
the Maori. Freshness is owed to its surrounding ocean and
fertile lands. Its distinctiveness is more in the way New Zealanders
eat - generally preferring to be as relaxed and unaffected as
A Maori specialty is the hangi (pronounced hung-ee),
a pit in which meats or fish are cooked with vegetables. A deep hole
is dug in the ground, lined with red-hot stones and covered with
vegetation. The food is then placed on top. The whole oven is
sprinkled with water and sealed with more vegetation. The hole is then
filled with earth and left to steam for several hours. Traditionally,
men dig and prepare the hole, and women prepare the food to go in it.
All members of an extended family (whanau) help out for such a feast.
The occasion is relaxed, friendly and fun, with people often eating
the meal under a marquee.
It may be difficult to pull off the above, but
here are three more recipes of local New Zealand food that can be
attempted in your own kitchen. Enjoy!
ANZAC BISCUITS are a snack food most commonly made primarily
from rolled oats, coconut, and golden syrup.
Many myths have grown around the Anzac biscuit. It has been
reported that they were made by Australian and New Zealand women for
the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers of World
War I and were reputedly first called "Soldiers' Biscuits" and then
"Anzac Biscuits" after the Gallipoli landing. The recipe was
reportedly created to ensure the biscuits would keep well during naval
transportation to loved ones who were fighting abroad.
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1 level teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water
Mix dry ingredients, melt butter & syrup together in small saucepan.
Dissolve soda in boiling water, add to dry ingredients. Cook until
golden brown at 350 degrees.
PAVLOVA - New Zealand's national dessert
Pavlova is a light and fluffy meringue dessert named after
the ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova. Both Wellington, New Zealand and
Perth, Australia claim to be the home of the dish. The earliest record
of the recipe is a cook book published in New Zealand in 1933, two
years before claims made in Perth.
Pavlova is traditionally decorated with fresh fruit and whipped
cream, and is especially popular in Australia and New Zealand.
Factory-made pavlovas can be purchased at supermarkets in those
countries and decorated as desired but rarely achieve home-baked
Leftover pavlova can be stored in the fridge overnight, but will
absorb moisture from the air and lose its crispness. Undecorated
pavlova can safely be left overnight in the oven in which it was
baked, to be decorated in the morning.
- 3 Egg whites
- 250g (9 oz.) superfine sugar
- pinch of Salt
- 5 ml or 1 tsp Vinegar
- 5 ml or 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
- Beat the egg whites and salt to a very stiff consistency before
folding in sugar, vanilla and vinegar. Beat until the mixture holds
its shape and stands in sharp peaks.
- Slow-bake the mixture at 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees
Fahrenheit) to dry all the moisture and create the meringue,
approximately 45 minutes. This leaves the outside of the pavlova a
crisp crunchy shell, while the interior remains soft and moist.
- A top tip (but not traditional) is to turn the pavlova upside
down before decorating with cream and fruit because the bottom is
less crispy than the top after cooking and unless you serve it
immediately after decorating the "top" absorbs moisture from the
cream. Another tip is to leave the pavlova in the oven after turning
off the heat - this helps to prevent the middle of the pavlova from
collapsing (although if it does collapse, generous application of
cream can hide any mistakes!)
Fairy bread is white bread lightly spread with margarine or
butter, and then sprinkled with either sugar or more commonly Hundreds
and Thousands (also known as sprinkles or nonpareils, a Masterfoods
product consisting of small balls of coloured sugar intended to
Fairy bread is served almost exclusively at children's parties in
Australia and New Zealand. Slices of the bread are typically cut into
triangles and stacked tastefully on the host's paper plate.
It was originally made using finely chopped rose petals for colour
and scent instead of the sugary lollies that are used today.