“Xiaogan weather is very changeable.” I hear this phrase from my students on a semi-weekly basis. Usually it is accompanied by admonishments to wear more clothes and drink hot water so that I don’t catch a cold.
Lately, however, this has been a complaint about the heat that has descended on the city like a sticky, wet blanket. We experienced a week of weather that looked somewhat like Spring, before diving into 80 degree days marked by sunshine and humidity. While it is a little uncomfortable, I will gladly take this over the frigid, bone-numbing cold of winter.
With the onset of summer weather, I decided that is was time to teach my students the art of a classic North American food: salsa. (Now, before anyone complains to me that salsa is technically Mexican and therefore better suited for a Spanish class than an English class, I have to ask: Have you been to Texas?)
Wednesday afternoon, I hit the grocery store with a couple of students, and we loaded up baskets with hot green chili peppers (la jiao), onions, garlic, cilantro, lemons (they don’t really have limes in China0, and tomatoes.
The next day in class, I handed out vegetables, knives, and a recipe and let them do their best to figure it out. I think it’s good practice for them to try to follow instructions in English without a ton of help from me. It lets them see how far their English has come and gives them a sense that they can do things on their own. It also gives me an excuse to try 8 different versions of salsa without doing any of the prep work.
Aside from one student’s concern that pepper and onion are not safe to consume raw, the activity was a smashing success.