“Even the guts?!?”

Had a lovely morning talking to the grade fives at Matthew Elementary on Monday. Two classes (45 kids total) met up in the library, and we got to go over medieval food. I had about fifteen or twenty minutes worth of presentation, and figured they’d maybe stretch the talk out to half an hour with questions. Not a chance! There were so many questions the last three slides were rushed right through and the only reason I got out of there that morning was the lunch bell going off. So much fun!

I got all kinds of questions. Everything from what the first farm animal was[1], to whether or not they had garlic bread[2], to how much of a pig really got eaten[5]. It was a fairly chaotic hour, but they seemed interested, and were throwing out lots of interesting questions. Afterwards, one of the teachers told me a few kids who don’t usually speak up in class had been asking questions. So that’s especially awesome. 


[1] That happened before the middle ages, unfortunately[3]. I do not know exactly when, but it was a looooong time ago.

[2] Not garlic bread as we know it now (bread, butter, garlic and cheese), but medieval Italians did make garlic bread’s ancestor. They would toast bread in hot coals, soak it in olive oil, and rub garlic over the bread.

[3] The knowledge of history, and the sheer scale of the past, seems to be something that settles in around grade 4-5. Talking about it afterwards, with someone whose brother is a teacher, I learned he’s been getting questions from his own grade fives along the lines of “the middle ages was before telephones, right?” and “soooo… was that before WWI?” I mean, kids know knights and castles and stuff were real, and that they aren’t now[4], but the distance from Now to Then, and all the stuff that has been stuffed into the intervening centuries, is something they’re just wrapping their heads around. It’s neat.

[4] Okay, there are still knights and castles in the world. But it’s not nearly the same.

[5] Hah! I grossed her out just pointing out what sausages and bacon are made from. Just imagine that kid’s face if she’d heard about head cheese. 

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