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Feasting on History — examples through pictures

Greetings from the Johnson Family!  We are a homeschooling family with six children. We love educating our children at home.  One of our favorite things to do is wrap up a history unit with an authentic feast.  Well, at least semi-authentic!  We dress in costume and prepare the foods that the people from that civilization and time period we are studying would have eaten.  This is something everyone looks forward to and enjoys whole-heartedly.  We also get alot of laughs when we look back at the pictures.

Looking back in preparing for this session, I wish I had taken more pictures, but here are at least a few to give you a glimpse of what I mean by "feasting on history"...

Alright, understandably, my son hates this picture!  But you have to understand here what is going on.  We are having an Ancient Egyptian meal.  We came dressed in cool white clothing (even though it was cold outside).  Most men did not wear shirts, so my son went shirtless, which we would normally not allow him to do - no shoes, no shirt, no service.  Well, no shoes is okay.  Anyway, we all put on heavy make-up as well - the black eyeliner around the eyes, as the Egyptians liked to do.  Our meal consisted of vegetable barley soup, bread, fish, dates, fig balls, date cakes and beer (non-alcoholic, of course).

Here is our Classical Greek feast.  This meal was absolutely amazing.  We prepared and served spinach/feta triangles (made with phillo dough) figs, fish, feta cheese, assorted Greek olives, dolmas, pita chips, roasted chicken and baklava.  We washed it down with wine and sparkling grape juice - Martinellis.

Again, we came in costume, wearing togas... check out the next picture!

This is Todd, my husband.  Yes, historical feasts are a great way to include Dad, who may miss out on most of the other fun activities that you do during school.  Todd is definitely enthusiastic and creative when it comes to dressing up for the feast...

This is his ancient time piece - a sundial made of wire to wear on one's wrist.  Here is a closer view...

Is that hilarious or what?

Here is a Roman Feast that we enjoyed a few years ago.  Of course, we all dressed in togas for this one as well.  The wreaths are made of maple leaves instead of laurel leaves, but you get the idea.  We reclined on the living room floor and ate with our hands.  Here's what was on the menu - whole chicken, dried fruit, home-made bread, hummus, olives and almonds.  Afterwards we watched a commentary on Roman entertainment - gladiator fights.

One year, we had a medieval feast, but honestly I cannot remember what we served.  Most likely whole chicken or a roast that was eaten with our hands.  I may not remember the food, but I sure do remember the costumes.  Aren't these great?  Halloween is NOT the only occasion for dressing up.  Since we had the costumes made, we also attended a renaissance faire and enjoyed it greatly.

One year we attempted to cook a Thanksgiving quite similar to the first Thanksgiving dinner.  Of course, we had turkey and venison, stewed pumpkin and some sort of grain stuffing.  We also served furmenty, boiled onions and a wilted salad.  Everyone had to come to the feast dressed as either a pilgrim or an Indian, even the grandparents...

That's my mom there, but I wish I had captured a picture of my husband's dad - oh my, he was the best pilgrim ever dressed in a white blouse and nickers!

One year, we prepared an Oregon Trail cookout.  We also had the chance to act it out a bit...

We arrived in a covered wagon.

Washed some dirty laundry.

Built a log cabin.

And then rested from our labors.

Here was a fun one...

The kids dressed in their pioneer clothing and pretended to be 49ers.  They staked their claims around the house and searched for buried gold.  You probably cannot read that green sign, but it reads "This here's Brady's claim".  And it was.  He even found gold in that room, that is gold-painted rocks!

And although this is a different year (two children later!), you can see that we enjoyed another 49er meal of beef jerky and sardines on our metal camping plates.  How fun!  Notice the California poppies in the tin can.  How cute!

Another great memory is from the time when we studied the Civil War.  We ate johnny cake and goober peas, just like the soldiers.  We also dressed up in clothing from the era and took sepia toned photographs to look like the photos from the time period.  Here are the ones in color, though... (remember, they always had serious expressions)

We also wore those costumes to a civil war reenactment and began to get a glimpse of what life was like during those tumultuous times.  That day is burned into our memories...

Don't be afraid to close the books from time to time and serve up a historical feast.  I think you will be glad you did!  Yum!

Blessings to you on your educational journey,

Terri Johnson

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