Value is what teachers look for in all of the sales. The clearance rack of Wal-Mart is an inspiration center for all sorts of lessons. Usually I find some cooking technology that can be tested in my Food Products class. The value of re-heating foods is something I teach my students while reviewing food safety and food storage. Students can learn through a reheating lab how different methods change the texture of food and how different heating technologies work. I feel that the value of this lesson is the direct impact that is has on their college and career readiness. The reheating of pizza in college after a late night of studying or the reheating of macaroni and cheese for your first sack lunch at your job are reason enough to obtain the knowledge of safely reheating food.
The first day of the lab students bake some frozen pizzas or make some mac and cheese on the stove. When the food is fresh each student has to taste the food and write down notes about texture, flavor, heat distribution, and mouthfeel. After tasting students must package the food in plastic bags or containers for re-heating the next day.
When students arrive the second day assign each of them a different heating source. Give one group the microwave, one group the stovetop, and one group the oven. Each heating source has its own directions so the lab also makes for a good time to test the skills of how well students follow written directions. Students must reheat their food and give samples to the other students in class to taste and evaluate on the same criteria of the fresh versions.
Discuss what is the best heating method and how each of them safely prepared the samples. Leftover samples may be prepared ahead of time if the class is small enough to do all of the tasting and reheating of the samples on the same day.