Cooking with Friends

Cooking with Friends at Tupper Homework Club: A Summary

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How’s everyone doing in the past two weeks? Well, I have been excited all the time ever since I heard our mac & cheese and food-sorting activity were so popular among students at Tupper’s Homework Club! Our community partner, Teri, even used “a big hit” to describe how students loved this new snack. This was extremely encouraging, as our hard work finally paid off, and all the struggling and hard moments we have experienced at the beginning were not a waste of time. If you have lost your track of what was going on, let’s have a review of who we are and what we did:

We are group 22 in LFS 350. We are a collection of UBC students with passion about cooking and eating good food. This year, we participated in CBEL program and chose to cooperate with Homework Club of Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School to promote nutrition knowledge among students. Homework club has been run for 12 years at Tupper, previously supported by Pacific Children Resources Society in the past and currently by Hillcrest Center and Little Mountain Neighborhood House. On every Tuesday and Thursday, it provides students with fruit, vegetables and hand-made snacks during after-school times. Indeed, fruit and vegetables are healthy, but always having the same things seems to a bit boring, and snacks like PB&J should be altered with something healthier. Therefore, staff at Tupper wanted some LFS students with food and nutritional knowledge to bring some new ideas about how to encourage students to consume more nutrition-condense food. They also expected us to teach and monitor volunteer students to safely handle cookware during snack preparation.


With full enthusiasm, we started our work. We had three visits to Tupper on Wednesdays, October 14th, 21st, and November 4th, 2015. Chickpea salad sandwiches, Tsatsiki dip and hummus served with rice chips and vegetable chips, and mac & cheese made of whole-wheat macaroni and low-fat milk were prepared respectively. On the first visit, posters comparing nutrition values of chickpeas and peanuts were exhibited to encourage them to consume healthy sandwiches. A milk blind tasting workshop was held on our second visit, during which students tasted four types of milk (soy, goat, skim chocolate) with their label covered, chose the one they liked and were then told what they were. Food-sorting activity on the last visit let students to categorize different foods into four major food groups as defined by Canada Food Guide. Both quantitative (survey questions) and qualitative (observations and feedbacks from Tupper staff) data were collected to determine the effectiveness of our plans.

Many of our friends (college students) enjoyed eating chickpea salad sandwich because they knew it was nutritious, and its taste was not bad. So we thought it was very likely that teenage students would also give it a try after being informed of how nutritious it is. However, no one liked it, mostly due to the unpleasant flavors of mayonnaise, celery or chickpeas, as collected from their answers to survey questions. It was a quite frustrating but reasonable outcome for me, since it reminded me of one of the presentations in my FNH 250 course, which talked about eating insects. I still remember how horrible looking the cooked insects were, and no matter how the presenters stressed insects were rich in proteins and other nutrients, I didn’t dare to give a try. I guessed the students who saw the chickpea salad sandwich must have had the same feeling as me being encouraged to eat insects — NO!!!!!!

Picture1 Picture2

Having failed in our first try, we were a bit confused about what to do next. At that moment, we knew that we had to make sure that students would be willing to try new food, and that a balance between nutrition and flavor should be achieved. However, we were not experienced in this. Luckily, by talking with our TA and community partners, good ideas were brought out, among all of which, “starting with something that students are familiar with” was used as the priority of our further work (Teri Corcoran, personal communication, October 19, 2015). As Shulman (2005) mentioned, students are supposed to learn how to react when it comes to the situation that knowledge is limited but actions must be taken. I think we did a good job on this and learnt to see things from other people’s perspective. And not surprisingly, the next two tries were successful.

Speaking of the volunteer cooking session and workshops, the biggest impression of our community partners was the engagement of English Language Leaners (ELL). “Youth were excited to help out and challenge their classmates”, said J. Johnson, our community partner. And, Teri also mentioned “this dynamic created unique experiences to build on friendships and to take on leaderships roles in presenting the activities”. To add on these feedbacks, the two workshops not only benefited students’ social skills, but also attracted their interests in nutrition. For example, most students chose soy milk, of which some of them even had never heard, as their favorite during the milk blind tasting. Therefore, by holding such activity, students are informed with more types of milk and its alternatives and are encouraged to consume more milk products so that a higher intake of Calcium and Vitamin D can be achieved. Moreover, even though the food-sorting activity seemed to be a little childish for secondary school students, it still played a role in introducing new immigrants to Canada Food Guide and helped them to maintain a balanced diet with an approach that they might not have experienced in where they used to live.

Overall, the most useful tip about educating kids is that letting them be interested should always be the priority.

Frankly speaking, some limitations did occur and made some of our ideas fail to come true. For example, we wanted to make raw brownie balls with dates to tell students to consume less sugar, but it was crossed off from the list due to the budget issue. Also, we being not able to show up on Thursday to have a face-to-face conversation with all Homework Club students was a pity. Otherwise, students would be given deeper impression on our nutrition promotion actions, and we were also able to directly know their feelings about this project in order to make further improvements. Last but not the least, four months with only three visits is REALLY not sufficient for Homework Club to create their own food program on their own, which gives students fun nutrition/food activities and new snacks.

Therefore, we have two suggestions, one being given to our community partner and one being given to anyone who wants to promote nutrition among children. First, try to find a sponsor (or donation program) that is able to provide snack ingredients with low prices and, ideally, is willing to ship them to school so that the money is saved, and preparation time would be reduced by a lot. Second, try to interact with children as much as you can, and both of you will gain valuable experience.

Finally, I want to thank our community partner as well as LFS 350 instructors and TAs who had been so patient to us and had been always willing to help us out. I also want to thank the volunteers who have worked so hard preparing snacks and facilitating with workshops, as well as all students at Homework Club who showed excellent cooperation during this project.

It’s so hard to believe that it has come to the end of our last blog! Thank you so much for reading our stories and sharing your feelings and thought with us. There’s still a long way to go until everyone knows the importance of having a healthy diet and adequate nutrient intake. If our experience has inspired you to promote nutrition to your families and neighborhoods, this will be our biggest success.

Shirley (on behalf of group 22: Kelly, Lucy, Sharon, Ya, Vita and me)


Shulman, L. S. (2005). Pedagogies of uncertainty. Liberal Education, 91(2), 18–25. Retrieved from


The 4th Visit to Tupper Secondary & Our Project’s Moment of Significant Change

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Well, well, well. Welcome back for our fourth update!

So you want to hear about the reaction of students toward our hummus and tzatziki dip recipes and the result from the milk blindfold taste test? Keep reading until the end!

Our objective this week is to keep up to the “secret” achievement we made two weeks ago and find another snack recipe students would like and make improvement to it to become healthier.

After discussing with our community partner, macaroni and cheese with broccoli was chosen to be the recipe for this week. To make the recipe healthier, whole milk and macaroni was substituted with 1% milk and whole-wheat macaroni considering about low fat and high fibre content. The cheese in the recipe was reduced to around 2/3 of its original amount as well.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2



Here is the menu we modified and used for those of you who are interested:

There were 7 student volunteers showed up (more than what we expected) who were recruited from last homework club session. We see this as a sign of students getting more interested in finding out what we are doing. But at the same time, it added pressure on our side to accommodate more volunteers.




During this visit, we were actually allowed to use the Foods classroom to prepare our snack, which made great improvement on the facilities we had access to. Student volunteers were excited with the tasks they were assigned to and they were eager to help. Everything went smoothly with a little problem occurred along the way… Cold milk was accidentally poured into the mixture of butter and flour, making flour clump together. And the sauce was not thick enough. Hope this won’t affect the taste too much… It might be better if we can try the recipe at home before bring it to school.


For the activity, a poster was made to imitate a plate, and pictures of different foods were made for students to categorize them into the four food groups on the plate. Also, the community partner who is in charge of facilitating the activity is going to ask students which food group is missing from the macaroni and cheese recipe. An intention of this activity is for students to realize the importance of a balanced diet and become more familiar with the four food groups in the Canada’s Food Guide.



In last week’s Moment of Significant Change workshop, our group identified and discussed our group’s significant moments in our project so far. Below is the graph we made.


This “storied approach” was used for us to reflect on our objectives and expectations of the project to see if it is necessary to make any modification to our objectives or expectations.

Our group mapped out the story of our project collectively on the graph. We began our project with big thinking and ambitious goals; everything seemed to be bright and going up for us. We then met our community partner during our first session and we seemed to be on the same page. After our project proposal presentation, we found out that the big picture goals in our proposal were too ambitious and that objectives needed to be changed for it to be achievable. At the same time, we were struggling to align course goals with what community partner asked for. As the proposal report and first visit passed neutrally, the result of the first visit came out not as good as what we expected. We found that there were a lot of misunderstanding between our community partner and us. We were going downhill again. But after the disappointment, we actively asked for feedbacks and help from our community partner and TA in order to make improvements for the following visits. Fortunately, a lot of useful suggestions were provided, which gave us clearer understanding of our project, and the second visit was successful.

By looking at our storyline, it reminds me of myself coming alone to Canada six years ago. I had ambitious goals and imagined a bright future before arriving. I encountered many struggles and downhills later as I faced the reality. But learning occurs when there is a certain amount of anxiety and risk existed (Shulman. 2005). I learnt from experience and quickly adapted to the new environment. This is also the projection to our project.

To approach the graceful dismount, our group adapt and listen to what our community partner needs and what students want and like. We are adding nutritional aspects to the snacks students usually have instead of sticking with the original plan of throwing something that is nutritious but completely new to students. We agree on our TA’s suggestion to incorporate some ideas from our community partner, as they understand the students’ preferences much better than us through their daily work experience.

So I heard you want to hear about the results from two weeks ago. Here are the comments made by our community partner, “nearly every person tried most of the milks and tried the hummus and tzatziki with vegetables and pita breads to dip. There were almost no left overs!!” (J. Johnson, personal communication, October 26, 2015). The snacks were a hit. As for the milk blindfold taste test, “students were the most curious about the goat milk, as many of them had never tried it. Most of the students picked Soy milk as their favorite and that was a surprise to some of the adults/volunteers” (J. Johnson, personal communication, October 26, 2015).

if you feel like sharing your moment of significant change or any thoughts about our homework club project, you are extremely welcome to leave your comment below.

Next posting will be our group’s last posting, please check back and say farewell to us! See you in a month!

Ya Gao (on behalf of group 22: Kelly, Lucy, Sharon, Shirley, Vita and me)


Shulman, L. S. (2005). Pedagogies of uncertainty. Liberal Education, 91(2), 18–25. Retrieved from


The 3rd Visit to Tupper Secondary: Making Different Types of Dips With Student Volunteers!

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Hi everyone, I’m glad that you come back to check our third post!!!!

Are you curious about how to make high school students like chickpeas?

Here is what we did; we made hummus dip!!!


Our objective this week was to get an idea of what students like for snacks from the first survey and make an improved snack recipe with healthier alternatives. However, when we went to pick up the surveys this Monday, the feedback was not what we expected.Our community partner said that the kids found it overwhelming to have surveys that were short answer questions because a lot of them just wrote “I don’t know” and so there was no clear answer or opinion for our group to use. Moreover, many students don’t like chickpeas and refuse to try them, which resulted in a lot of leftovers.

To be honest, we did feel a little disappointed because the recipe that we provided did not satisfy the students Tupper. The good thing is, this experience makes us to think more about the reality. The students at Tupper don’t have as much nutritional knowledge as we do. The teachers there are not LFS graduates. It is unrealistic to make them suddenly start to eat healthy and nutritious food according to our standards. Therefore, we decided to make some changes from our original plan and adapt some ideas for the homework club leaders because they understand the students’ preferences much better than us.

This reminds me about Dan Barber’s story from the podcast (452: Poultry Slam 2011). Adapting a new method into the environment takes time. And there will be a lot of unexpected challenges throughout the process. For Dan Barber, it took him 3 years trying to adapt the new method to raise his geese and it still has not succeed every time. For us, we only have 4 sessions in total to help the school to take in this healthy eating idea. It is normal to experience some difficulties because we learn the most from our challenges. The key to success is to learn and adapt.

Therefore, on Wednesday’s session, our group made hummus dip with chickpeas and tahini (so that we could use up the chickpea leftovers from last week) and tzatziki dip with yogurt and dill. For chips, we bought veggie and rice chips for students to try different chip alternatives.
图层 1For those who were interested in the dip recipes, here’s are the links:

20151023_032324000_iOSThere were 5 student volunteers and a community worker who came to help us chop vegetables, measure and mix the ingredients. Students were hesitant to try the new dips at first, but because they tasted the dips with a familiar food like chips, and because they were involved in the cooking process, they were more comfortable in trying a new food!

We also took an idea from the Tupper community team to plan a “blindfold taste test” activity, which will be held on Thursday. The teacher will handout different milk samples (skim, 2%, goats, soy and almond) to students and ask simple questions like how many different kinds of milk have you tried? What kind of milk is you favorite? At the end of the activity, they will count up the total preferences for each kind of milk and determine preference % to see if any students are surprised by their picks. A simple questionnaire will be given out just as last time, but with short answer questions substituted by yes/no/neutral questions.


The 3rd visit to Tupper went really well. The ingredients only cost $40, which is perfectly under the $60 budget. The volunteers who came to help us seem to like our recipe and we hope the kids from homework club will like it too. The grocery shopping took quite a lot of time even with one person driving. Unfortunately, we won’t get anyone to drive on our next visit. Our community partners’ suggestion about this is to email them in advance to confirm the recipe and maybe other activities beforehand so our group can shop for foods before we arrive. We plan to pick up the surveys from homework club by next Monday and use the results to improve our next recipe. Some of our recipe ideas for the next session are english muffin pizza, pita and sauce, cheese and vege…….

If you got any ideas about tasty, healthy, inexpensive snack recipes, please feel free to leave us a comment. We are looking forward to see your ideas!!!!!!


Interview. Audio Blog Post. 452: Poultry Slam 2011. N.p., 2 Dec. 2011. Web. 22 Oct. 2015. Retrieved from
–Sharon Wang (on behalf of group 22: Shirley, Lucy, Vita, Sharon, Ya and Kelly)


Second School Visit–making chickpea salad sandwich!

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Hello there,

Welcome to our second blog post! In this week, we completed our second school visit out of the four flexible learning sessions.

The first weekly objective of our project is to collect data of students’ food preferences by distributing surveys and then analyze and draw a conclusion of the consumption trend based on the results. The results are used to modify and improve our well designed tasty, nutritious and economical recipe for the next visit. The second weekly objective is to integrate nutrition into the cooking session of the homework club by providing a recipe to them and help them prepare food materials required for Thursday. We aimed to introduce healthy substitutes for the unhealthy food ingredients that are commonly consumed by using posters to show comparisons between peanut butter and chickpeas as the filling of sandwich based on nutrition, such as calories and content of the major nutrients. Hopefully, students can get to know more about nutrition and embrace the idea of healthy eating after trying a new taste of sandwich with healthy legumes.

Let’s check out our nutritious recipe and poster for this week’s homework club.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich Spreading (using 19 oz chickpeas)


½ onion (can replace with bell pepper for a lighter flavor)

1 celery stalk

1 can chickpeas

2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp dried dill weed (optional)

some salt & pepper


After this week’s school visit, we get to know more about students’ preferences regarding to snacks provided in the homework club and their ideas towards our 1st designed recipe. The analysis of students’ preferences is based on students’ answers to our survey questions. In our survey, we have general Questions as follows:

What are your favorite foods to eat?

What do you usually eat for lunch?

What is your favorite food that you consider healthy and why?

Do you cook for yourself at all? If so, what do you like to make?

What snacks would you like to eat at homework club?

Moreover, we will also receive some feedbacks from students’ answers to the questions that are designed specifically for the 1st recipe and the questions are as follows:

Do you like PB&J sandwiches? Why?

Do you like chickpea salad sandwiches and want to eat them more often? If yes, is it because of the flavor or the nutrition values of chickpeas, or both? If no, why?

Do you want to eat chickpea salad sandwiches more often? Even more than PB&J?

We discussed our first Thursday workshop plan with the school teacher and the homework club coordinator on this Wednesday. Initially, however, the plan was not seen as applicable to help students achieve learning goals by the school teacher and this was because the interesting activities to attract students’ engagement were missed out from our workshop plan. Students’ engagement motivation would be depressed if the workshop was tedious. Game-based learning has become a significantly important issue in education because games may be highly useful for improvement of student’s active participation in learning by offering attractive and academic content (Hsieh et al., 2013). Ultimately, our group modified our workshop plan and incorporated some learning activities in our workshop plan, such as guessing game for food ingredients in the recipe. In future visits, I will recommend that more game-based learning activities are incorporated into the workshop to facilitate students’ learning.

Our objective for next week’s visit is to introduce natural healthy food ingredients to substitute commonly used sugar added to snacks. Moreover, we will try to get feedbacks of our next weeks’ workshop and students’ snacks preference. In order to achieve those goals, in next week’s visit, we will provide a recipe to the homework club and prepare the food required. Then questionnaires will be given to the teacher to help us distribute to students. In next week, we will make raw brownie ball. The questions based on next week’s recipe are as follows:

Do you like cocoa?

Can you list your favorite snack(s) made of cocoa?

Do you like nuts? Why?

What can we use to increase the sweetness of our food?


1. Hsieh, Y.; Lin, Y.; Hou, H. Exploring Elementary-School Students’ Engagement Patterns in a Game-Based Learning Environment. Journal of Educational Technology & Society 2015, 18, 336.


Updates coming soon!

–Kelly (Xiaozi) Chen (on behalf of group 22: Shirley, Lucy, Vita, Sharon, Ya and Kelly)




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Hi there,

We are group 22 in LFS 350; a collection of UBC students passionate about cooking and eating good food. We chose the name “Cooking With Friends” for our blog because, not only does it fit our common interests, but it is also the name of a community project we will be working with at Charles Tupper Secondary School for the next couple months. We are so excited to start cooking together!

Here is a quick introduction of our team members.

Lucy is a Food Science major. She says: “I’m really interested in sensory properties of food and ways in which we can make processed foods (such as ice cream) healthier. I’m also in support of educating younger generations about the importance of a nutritious and balanced diet.”

Ya studies Food and Nutritional Science. She says: “I am interested in finding out the relationship between sugar sweetened beverages and obesity in the younger generation. I believe it is important to show and teach the younger generation that healthy diet could be tasty too.”

Sharon studies Nutritional Science and is interested in food safety and international nutrition. She says: “I’m curious about the reasons causing malnutrition and over-nutrition in different countries. I want to get more hands-on experiences by working with schools and community members before graduate.”

Shirley is a Food and Nutritional Sciences major. She says: “I would enjoy so much being a nutritional consultant and sharing my ideas and experiences with others. My first goal for this project is to convey some knowledge related to food and healthy diet to the people joining the club. I also want to see more communications between the students and their parents.”

Kelly is a Food Science major interested in food product development. She says: “My personal goal in this project is to gain more insight on high school students’ eating and cooking habit and how do they perceive healthy and nutritional eating.”

Vita studies Global Resource Systems and loves to cook. She says: “I am interested in how community actors work together to make a project, and what works or does not work in terms of organizational structure, communication and planning.”


As a group we are interested in working with younger students, sharing recipes and promoting nutritional eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. The main reason why we chose this project is because we all love to cook and want to share our expertise, knowledge and skills. We also want to spark an interest in high school students to cook more at home in their spare time. We hope to refine our facilitation skills, communication and teaching skills as well as create and become part of a more engaged school community at Charles Tupper Secondary.


Homework Club @Tupper & Cooking with Friends

After meeting with educators and community members at Charles Tupper Secondary School this past Wednesday, it is clear to us that Homework Club is a long upheld school tradition; a space where students can meet after-school to do homework, enjoy some snacks and socialize if they choose. It happens on casual terms every Tuesday and Thursday from 3-6pm. According to organizers, attendance can be anywhere from 30 to 75 students.

To enhance homework club, the school wants include a food and nutrition focus, with healthy recipes prepared by students and maybe even some interactive educational games and workshops. Food preparation will take place on select Wednesday afternoons with a handful of interested secondary school students. Community partners include the local Hillcrest Community Centre, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House and us, LFS 350 students!

Overall, the objective of the Cooking with Friends initiative at Charles Tupper Homework Club as we see it and alongside community partners is to empower students with resources and skills to make their own affordable, nutritious and tasty snacks.

Our main goals are to (a) provide the after-school program with healthy recipes, (b) source the ingredients within a predetermined budget, (c) facilitate cooking with small groups of students and (d) lead a nutrition-related activity or workshop.

In reflection, the process of this LFS 350 community project so far has already been a learning experience. As a group we started getting ahead of ourselves and worrying about specifics before we met with the school community organizers on Wednesday. What are our project goals? Any recipe ideas? Should we all cook with the students? These questions and many others came up in early group conversation. According to Ernesto Sirolli, Asset-Based Community Development begins with listening to what a community wants before making any plans, yet alone taking action. Once we met with the school community, they told us their desired outcome of the project. From there, we have been given freedom to make a nutritional plan within the structure of to the assets they already have in place, namely the Homework Club and Cooking with Friends programs, access to school rooms and kitchens, community volunteers and teacher-support. We are now confident that the implementation of this project fits the asset-based community development framework because all of the components necessary for change are already present in the Charles Tupper community and ready to be mobilized with a little bit of teamwork.

This is going to be an amazing opportunity to put in-class knowledge into practical experiences.

Updates coming soon!

-Vita (on behalf of Group 22: Lucy, Ya, Sharon, Shirley, Kelly and Vita)


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