A great topic for my first unit of Food Products and Processing Systems class. The first unit I cover in my foods class is Food Safety. Making cake is a pretty easy thing to get correct if it comes out of a box. Ultimately, I want students to be great at handling food with real danger, meat. I like to start out with cake or brownies because there is a lot less of a risk.
Teaching about the risks and sources of illnesses in food goes easer to the fresh smell of cake instead of the smell of fuzzy meat.
I break down food contaminants into three different areas; physical, chemical, and microbial. Cake is fun with physical contaminants because I can stick something in it after I bake it or bake something in it and studnets can “discover” it in the lab. Chemical contaminants are a bit trickier. An off-flavor from vinegar or onion may be the best I can do with some foods. Bleach is used to sanitize dishes in many areas so I could use along with the cake some of the milk defects from the milk quality products CDE to demonstrate chemical contamination, one of which is bleach. Microbial contamination is difficult. I would have to make food off color or off smell. Maybe green food coloring in some brownies or a drop on a hamburger or cheese.
Another idea is just to use some water. Pepper can be added to one glass, vinegar to another, and brown or a darker food coloring to the last just to give it some cloudyness. Visually students should describe why the water wouldn’t be plesant to drink.
If you are like me and have two laying hens in your classroom they are a great place to start. First begin with collecting the egg and examining the egg for any adhering material or stains. The cage for the hens have a slanted floor so that the eggs stay clean after they are laid. Students can then candle the eggs for any physical contamination. To prepare the eggs students need to crack them open. If there was a meat spot or a blood spot in the egg students can now see it. Students are now at the point to preventing microbial contamination. Cooking the eggs to the correct temperature to get rid of potential disease. Studetns will have at least their hands, an egg, a bowl, and preparing utencils to wash and sanitize. Along the way you can talk about the denaturing of proteins by heat and teach internal and external grading of eggs.
And eggs, are in Cake.