For the Love of FACS, Reading in the FACS Classroom

A Delicious Chemistry Project

I’ve been testing more recipes for Four-Course FACS—A Fictional Culinary Adventure based on the teen novel Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams. The latest product of my home test kitchen is Apple Galette.  This is one of the dishes that Sophie (the novel’s main character) makes during the baking portion of the Teen Test Kitchen competition.

Galette (gah-leht):  A round, flat, thin French cake made with puff pastry or yeast-leavened dough, usually sprinkled with sugar before baking.

Apple Galette 014

The recipe I’m developing for Four-Course FACS is based on a rich, flavorful pastry.  I made the version pictured above from fresh apples.  I plan to also try it with prepared apple pie filling for a simpler, more classroom-friendly version.  The steps in the preparation process are pictured below.

The first step in the preparation of the galette is to make the pastry so that it can be refrigerated for easier handling.  Apples are cooked and then brown sugar, spices and toasted walnuts are added.

Pastry dough is rolled out and fruit added to the center.  The dough is then gently folded over fruit, leaving middle open and fruit exposed.  The galette bakes for about 40 minutes.

Apple Galette 017

The apple galette has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor with a tender flaky crust.  Yum!  Students would master the following skills from the preparation of this recipe:

  • Pastry preparation techniques
  • Toasting nuts
  • Rolling and handling pastry dough
  • Measuring ingredients and following recipe directions
  • Cooking by direct heat

I think this recipe will be a good addition to Four-Course FACS.  What do you think?

Reading in the FACS Classroom

In a Jam

Sorry to have abandoned this blog all last week!  We had a great vacation in Michigan and Door County, Wisconsin but it took a lot of time to get reorganized and back into work mode after we returned home.  I hope you found at least a few of my posts from the road interesting.  Thanks for making the journey with us.

I am back to work on Four-Course FACS, A Fictional Culinary Adventure, my newest resource for FACS teachers.  I’m more excited about this curriculum than any I’ve written in a while.  The activities are all based on the young adult novel, Pizza, Love and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams.  The novel is absolutely a food service or culinary arts teacher’s dream come true.  I’m having a wonderful time developing the classroom activities for this one.

Four-Course FACS will include at least 50 recipes.  Each recipe will be adjusted, and formatted to make it appropriate for classroom use.  Each recipe I include in Four-Course FACS will be kitchen-tested and edited to ensure student success.  Recipe development is one of my favorite steps in creating a new culinary resource.  (It’s also one of my husband’s favorites!  No surprise there, right?  LOL)

I officially began working on the recipe development phase of the project today by making Tomato Basil Jam.  This recipe is part of Sophie’s (the main character in the novel) final entry as a “cheftestant” on Teen Test Kitchen, the competition that is at the heart of the novel’s story.  It might seem a little backwards to start with a recipe at the end of the novel, but the late bounty of beautiful tomatoes still coming from our garden made the decision for me.

The original Tomato Basil Jam recipe is made from fresh tomatoes and basil.  I plan to develop a version of this recipe that uses canned tomatoes, which will make the preparation much faster and easier.

This pretty jam is thickened with packaged fruit pectin for low-sugar recipes.  The recipe only yields 5 half-pint jars, making it perfect to share with a group of students.  The jam can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks, so processing in a boiling-water canner would not be absolutely necessary.

The Tomato Basil Jam is sweet and slightly savory.  Delicious!  Sophie serves it with her entree of Salmon en Papillote, along with a julienne medley of zucchini, carrots, and turnips in lemon-dill butter.  Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?  Can’t wait to experiment with a few main dishes of my own!  I think it might be great mixed with cream cheese to make an appetizer spread for crusty bread or crackers.

On the menu tomorrow is Apple Galette!  Yum!!

FACS on the Road, Historical FACS

Chili History



I discover FACS historical facts in the most unexpected places–that’s part of the fun of it! A good example is the tidbit of trivia II happened across at a restaurant in Green Bay, Wisconsin yesterday.

Simply by chance we stopped in for a bowl at Chili John’s Restaurant. We didn’t know until reading the history of the restaurant that this quaint little diner is a Green Bay institution. The restaurant opened in 1913 and has been in operation continuously through two world wars, the Great Depression and more.

The restaurant’s longevity is an amazing success story in itself. However, my favorite chapter of the story involves the condiments Chili John served with his chili. He wasn’t happy that the saltine crackers he was serving made a mess when his customers crumbled them into their chili. It just so happened that one of his customers was a salesman was a from Nabisco. He shared his “cracker concerns” with his customer sharing that he would like crackers that fit in a teaspoon. The salesman took Chili John’s suggestion back to Nabisco and the Dainty Oyster cracker was born! Don’t know where the name oyster cracker came from, but I’ll try to find out and share that info later.

Love that story! Hope you’ll never take the diminutive oyster cracker for granted again. It’s part if FACS history!

If you have any interesting historical FACS to share, please feel free to comment in this blog post or share on our FB page.