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Food Culture

Food brings us nourishment but it also brings us comfort. Cooking food is a skill, a tradition, an art. It provides us with energy, gives us nutrients, and should be a delicious, enjoyable part of our daily lives. Food is shared as a sign of hospitality. A pineapple is a symbol of hospitality and is often seen at the crown of the building as a welcoming. Did you know that the smell of food cooking was once considered by some cultures as unpleasant? The kitchen, once separated from the main part of the house, now finds itself at the center of the house.

Food is food for thought!

Activity 1 Making a Placemat

Setting the place for a meal can present many different expressions. The color and shape of the food, its aromas, and how it is placed on the table and served is all part of food presentation. In this activity you will create a placemat for your family. Choose a media: draw, collage, weave or paint! Take a picture of your placemat with and without dishes and silverware.

Activity 2 How to Set the Table

Eating together means sharing the job of setting the table. Share the job below with your friends, family or classmates. Eating together is a great time to talk about the events of the day!

Place one placemat at each setting

Place one plate at each setting

Place one napkin at each setting

Place one fork, spoon, knife, at each setting

Place one cup at each setting

Consider placing flowers or candles on the table for special occasions.

Activity 3 Setting Design

The cups, glasses, utensils and plates are called a place setting. In this exercise you can design your own silverware, glasses and dishes. Consider how the utensils are held in the hand, how the plates and bowls stack and work together, and how the glasses complement the dishes.

For utensils, design a knife, spoon and fork. For the glasses, design one glass and a mug. For the dishes, design a dinner plate, a soup bowl and a dessert plate. Draw all of your designs in plans and in elevations and label them.


  1. Everyone in the world eats with utensils.

  2. There can be formal and informal place settings.

  3. Different cultures set the table differently.

  4. Knives are placed on the left of the plate.

  5. A place setting can set the mood of the gathering.


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