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This Is New!

I’m sure you’ve all experienced that rush of adrenaline when something you’ve been working on for a very long time finally becomes reality!  It’s heady and exhilarating, right?  Well, that’s where our little staff at Fresh FACS is right now!  For a little over four months, we’ve been working on the development and launch of our 2018 catalog and it’s finally complete and ready to share with all of you and we’re very excited.

Now you’re probably wondering, what’s the big deal, right?  We publish a standard catalog of our products every year, so how is this any different and why should you, our FACS friends, care?  Well, I’m glad you asked!  We decided to take an entirely new approach to our catalog this year.  We wanted to make it more than just a showcase of our products.  We wanted it to be something that FACS teachers would enjoy perusing–more like a magazine than a catalog!  So that’s exactly what we did!  We created an attractive publication in which we hope you will find tons of useful and interesting information!  And, oh yes, you will also have access to information about our entire product line of fresh ideas for the FACS classroom!

The cover image of our magazine/catalog appears at the top of this post.  If you’ll look closely at the text on the chalkboard image, you’ll see five project titles listed:  Pizza Perfection, Pasta Engineering, Sweet Architecture, Idea to Icon and Stories and Stitches.  These are five brand new FACS activities outlined in the magazine/catalog that are free for you download to use in your classroom.  Here’s a summary and description of each activity.


Pizza Perfection–The Science and Style of Pizza

Through this activity, students will explore the science, math, history and style of this incredibly popular dish.  This multi-faceted activity includes:

  • Top Your Own Pizza Recipe
  • Pizza Dictionary
  • A Slice of Pizza History
  • Pizza Personality, What’s Your Style?  An exploration of the most popular styles of pizza and their characteristics.
  • Pizza Style Investigation
  • Pizza With Style, Beyond the Basic Recipe–An exercise in pizza recipe development

pasta salad for blog

Pasta Engineering–Engineering the Perfect Pasta Salad

This activity will introduce students to the science and engineering of developing the perfect pasta salad.  The activity includes:

  • An introduction to pasta shapes in Pasta Salad Varieties–ID, Please!
  • Selecting the pasta for and original pasta salad recipe.
  • Cooking secrets for perfect pasta salad.
  • Steps and options for developing the perfect original pasta salad recipe.
  • Pasta Salad Dressing Options
  • Engineering the Perfect Pasta Salad Planning guide.

malibu gingerbread house

Sweet Architecture–Engineering a Not So Classic Gingerbread House

This activity is designed to provide students with experience in the application of the principles of the science of baking; observation of the fundamentals of engineering a stable structure; and identification and replication of the elements of specific architectural styles.  This is definitely not a quick holiday activity!  The activity includes:

  • An introduction to ten architectural styles.
  • An Architectural Elements Research Guide
  • Gingerbread Backstory, Hansel and Gretel and Beyond.
  • Engineering a Gingerbread House
  • Gingerbread Glossary
  • Recipes for Construction Gingerbread and Edible Icing Mortar
  • Testing the Mortar, Assessing the Structural Integrity of Edible Mortar options.
  • Gingerbread Hints and Hacks


Stories and Stitches

This activity combines reading, crafts, sewing and identification of developmental stages into one comprehensive and fun activity.  The project includes:

  • Guidelines for Selecting Books for Preschoolers
  • Benefits of reading in early childhood development
  • Sewing Cards as a Developmental Tool
  • Project outline to guide students through the steps in creating a set of original sewing cards based on a book of their own selection.
  • Sewing Cards Design Activity Evaluation Rubric


Edible Art Exhibit

Hosting an edible art exhibit can be an excellent opportunity to showcase students’ culinary and artistic skills.  Creating an original work of edible art requires the application of concepts related to:

  • Knife skills
  • Garnishing
  • Cake decorating
  • Food safety and sanitation
  • Food preservation
  • Food selection and purchasing
  • Cost management
  • Food photography
  • Structural design
  • Presentation

This activity will guide you and your students through the process of designing edible works or art, as well as planning and coordinating an edible art exhibit.


Idea to Icon

Many of the products we use every day have very interesting back stories.  This timeline project is designed to guide students through researching and creating a timeline for one of a dozen iconic consumer products:  commercial sewing pattern, breakfast cereal, blender, disposable diaper, commercial baby food, recliner, pizza, fast food, car seat, blue jeans, sneakers, or flip flops.  The activity includes:

  • Research guidelines
  • Timeline examples
  • Presentation options
  • Evaluation rubric

There’s so much more to learn and do in the 2018 Fresh FACS magazine/catalog!  We hope you’ll check it out.  You can page through the entire catalog by clicking on the image below.  To request a hard copy of the magazine/catalog, send us a request on this blog or by private message on Facebook.  Be sure to include the address where you would like your publication mailed.

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Presidential Palates, Part 6


Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933 – 1945), was known as a man of the people.  Perhaps guiding the nation through the dark and austere days of the Great Depression, gave him a true appreciation for the simpler things in life.

Roosevelt considered hot dogs a favorite meal.  Much to his mother, Sara Roosevelt’s chagrin, he even served them, along with cold beer, to England’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they visited his Summer White House in June of 1939.  There are many other documented occasions when hot dogs and other simple fare were served to White House visitors and prominent dignitaries during President Roosevelt’s administration.

Henrietta Nesbitt, the White House housekeeper in Roosevelt’s White, FDR was also very fond of a grilled cheese sandwich oozing with lots of cheese.  The recipe below would be a good choice for a foods lab activity, during which you could discuss the accomplishments of the FDR administration that affect their lives every day.

Reasons Students Should Be Grateful to FDR:

  • If you have an account at a community bank, you should be glad that FDR created the FDIC, which ensures the security of individual accounts.
  • If you have a job, you have FDR to thank for the size of your paycheck.  He created the federal minimum wage through the National Industrial Recovery Act.
  • If you did not have to go to work in a factory or other menial job when you were a little kid, you can thank FDR.  His office created the Fair Labor Standards Act, which banned the exploitation of child workers.
  • Finally, if you plan to drink responsibly when you are of legal age, you have FDR to thank.  He is responsible for abolishing prohibition.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

4 slices bread

3 tablespoons butter, divided

2 slices Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat skillet over medium heat.
  2. Generously butter one side of a slice of bread.
  3. Place bread butter-side-down onto skillet bottom and add 1 slice of cheese.
  4. Butter a second slice of bread on one side and place butter-side-up on top of sandwich.
  5. Grill until lightly and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted.
  6. Repeat with remaining 2 slices of bread, butter and cheese slice.

Yield:  2 servings

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Presidential Palates, Part 5

“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”  Thomas Jefferson


Although best remembered as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States (1801-1809), Thomas Jefferson also had a storied diplomatic career.  He served as the minister to France during the crucial years following the Revolutionary War, from 1785 to 1789.  It was during his time residing in Europe that Jefferson was introduced to and developed a real passion for fine cuisine.  You could say that he was one of the original foodies!

Jefferson is credited with introducing and popularizing several foods that remain popular in American cuisine even today.  This list illustrates the culinary impact of one of our original founding fathers.

Ice Cream

It’s believed that Jefferson was introduced to ice cream during his diplomatic posting in France.  When he returned home, he brought recipes and an ice cream freezer to ensure he could enjoy his new favorite dessert for the rest of his life.  As president, he served ice cream at formal dinners on at least six occasions.  Jefferson’s  handwritten ice cream recipe is a part of the collection in the Library of Congress.

Macaroni and Cheese

Though Jefferson wasn’t the first person in America to serve macaroni and cheese, he is credited with popularizing it.  This is another dish that he discovered during his time in France.  He first served macaroni and cheese at a state dinner in 1802.  What we’ve come to consider comfort food, soon became the fashionable food of the day.

French Fries

Thomas Jefferson also brought back a French recipe for “pommes de terre frites à cru en petites tranches (potatoes deep-fried while raw, in small cuttings).”  Despite Jefferson’s enthusiasm for the deep-fried potatoes (cut into rounds, not sticks), they didn’t gain popularity until the 1900s.  His recipe predates cookbook recipes for French fries by half a century.

Parmesan Cheese

Jefferson loved Parmesan cheese so much that he wanted to replicate the production process in America.  Ultimately, he decided it was impossible to recreate the flavors in the cheese since it was made from the milk of Italian cows.  Instead, he had many wheels of Parmesan imported for his own personal use.


On a trip to Holland, Jefferson sampled waffles for the first time and was so pleased he immediately bought a waffle iron.


After sampling some of France’s finest champagne, Thomas Jefferson insisted on serving the beverage at most formal dinners he hosted.  He was such an avid fan, that he kept a corkscrew in the same carrying case as his toothbrush.

Champagne wasn’t the only wine appreciated by Jefferson.  He regularly drank one to four glasses of wine a day.  He ordered wines by the barrel from all corners of Europe, racking up a wine bill that exceeded $10,000 (over $212,000 in today’s currency) during his eight-year presidency.

This is a classroom-friendly version of Thomas Jefferson’s Macaroni and Cheese.  Hope your students enjoy making and eating it!

Macaroni and Cheese

3/4 cup elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon + 1  1/2 teaspoons margarine

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

1 cup milk

1 cup cubed American cheese


  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
  2. To make cheese sauce, in a saucepan melt margarine over medium-high heat.
  3. Stir in flour, salt and pepper to make a smooth roux.
  4. Add milk all at once; stirring constantly, cook 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to medium.  Add cubed cheese; stir until melted.
  6. Gently stir cooked macaroni into cheese sauce.  Turn into lightly greased 1-quart casserole.
  7. Bake in a 350° oven 30 to 35 minutes or till heated through and lightly browned.

Yield:  4 servings

More Presidential Palates tomorrow!  You’ll find many more activities, recipes and FACS-friendly historical facts in our resource, Historical FACS.