One of my favorite preschool activities is “Dictation:” an adult sits with a piece of paper and a pencil, and asks the assembled kids a question: What do your parents do for work? What do you like to eat for breakfast? How do you get to school? The responses are unpredictable, creative, and often bear little relation to the family’s reality as the parents understand it (one oppressed child apparently has to walk 63 miles to school every morning. You’d think the family would at least consider the bus.)
Not long ago, one of the moms did dictation with a twist; she’d brought in pictures of food and helped the kids create their own cookbooks. They did the gluing and talking, she did most of the writing. Here is Eli’s:
There’s something rather elemental about it, its focus on producing the ingredients, the waiting patiently for cabbage, the optimism about the honey. But my favorite aspect might just be the unwritten notion that if you eat that salad (and why wouldn’t you really? it’s just vegetables you like!), then someone will offer you a couple big milkshakes. That’s my kind of cookbook.