The final unit of study for upper school Spanish 1 students is learning language related to food and restaurants. Upper school Spanish teacher Diana Moss tries to expose her students to cuisine from Spanish-speaking countries other than Mexico, which is already very popular in California. In previous years, her students have enjoyed lunch at local Peruvian, Salvadoran and Cuban restaurants to learn about Hispanic cuisine in an authentic setting.
This year during parent conferences, Moss learned that Harker parent Ivette Meissner (Anthony, grade 9) was born in Cuba and was raised learning to cook traditional Cuban cuisine by her grandmother. After years of experience, she now has her own cooking business (www.cookingbyivette.com) and offered to prepare a luncheon for the Spanish 1 students featuring a variety of Cuban dishes.
On May 11, Meissner hosted all 28 students at her home in Willow Glen, where she prepared ropa vieja (shredded beef in a savory tomato sauce), roast pork, arroz con gris (black beans cooked in white rice), croquetas de jamón (ham croquettes), tostones (fried plantains) and pasteles (pastries of guava and coconut) along with non-alcoholic mojitos. She also shared with students the story of how her father ended up working in sugar cane fields in Cuba when the government had him fired because he wanted to come to the U.S. He eventually was able to immigrate to the U.S. when Ivette was 11 months old.
The students greatly enjoyed their off-campus outing, but even more the opportunity to experience a new cuisine and learn about Cuban culture.