Languages and dishes for Europe” “

Do you speak English? A lesson in the kitchen. "LanCook" combines Universities in 5 countries" "

How many times have we wished we could do two things at the same time? Countless men or women must have wished to combine cooking and household work, or cooking and looking after their child at the same time, or baking a cake while learning a foreign language. This is precisely the idea launched by Paul Seedhouse, British linguist. He designed a “talking” kitchen, namely to learn a foreign language through food recipes from various European countries, getting to know more about regional and local cultures and traditions, typical of the Old Continent. For now, the prototype exists only in French, and the recipe that has been tested is clafoutis aux poires. But on its wake was born “LanCook”, a Lifelong Learning collaborative project of the European Union. The purpose is to develop learning materials in six different languages based on the performance of targeted activity: cuisine. EU languages around the table. LanCook’s challenge is to increase the knowledge of foreign languages and motivate the acquisition of language skills in the EU through an innovative combination of cuisine, technology and language learning. The venture is coordinated by a partnership of teachers, experts and enthusiasts from Finland (University of Helsinki), Germany (University of Paderborn), Italy (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Spain (Autonomous University of Barcelona) and the UK (University of Newcastle), directed in particular by the latter team which in turn will promote culinary collaborations with each of the partners mentioned to create a typical dish from that territory. Kitchen and technology. These recipes, however, have one peculiarity: they are designed in a technologically advanced kitchen based on sensor technology, similar to that of a Nintendo Wii, to guide students step by step through the preparation of the chosen dish. Thanks to digital sensors, which are placed in all the equipment and ingredients in the kitchen, the activities of learners as they proceed with their culinary activity are monitored and assessed. Because the kitchen is able to detect what users are doing, it can provide help during the preparation of a dish through a series of audio-visual contributions. There is also the possibility to obtain more details about a specific preparation procedure. As in an interactive activity, students can also communicate with the kitchen, using a touch-screen. Lesson 1: Italian and English. The teaching materials are stored in the “digital portable kitchen” software that can be used before, during and after the activity and, in addition, the unit includes sensors and necessary utensils for cooking, which can be used in any normally equipped kitchen both in educational settings (at school, for example) and at home. The project was developed through a partnership between Italian and British cuisine. In particular, the recipes chosen, drawing on the tradition passed down by Artusi, are: pasta with Neapolitan sauce and ‘farmer-style’ roulade. The first course offers a glimpse of the southern Italian cuisine, while the second course reflects the multifaceted nature of history, language and cuisine of the Peninsula, where it was named also “braciuoline”, within which are mixed varied traditions and ingredients, highlighting the fact that the geographical, linguistic and culinary unity of Italy occurred in recent times. The study of the recipes goes hand in hand with the study of technological materials that have come from Newcastle. Notably, the sensors, that are yet being tested, will be eventually be integrated with the ingredients and the utensils in the kitchen, thereby preparing the right setting and improving the interface. Encouraging multilingualism. Each collaboration, partnerships, event and exhibition will be constantly monitored on social networks, through which project participants will be invited to share their pictures, audio and video recordings. All the material collected in this experimental phase will then be presented at an international event, planned for September 26 to celebrate the European language Day. On that occasion, efforts will be placed to raise the awareness of European citizens, children and adults alike, about the importance of language learning to enhance multilingualism and intercultural understanding, promoting linguistic diversity and encouraging lifelong language learning and, why not, learning new recipes and new culinary traditions. United Europe also passes by good food.

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