Rice and Spice
LESSON 3: Food, health and healing
This lesson plan explores the relationships between foods and the Southeast Asian concepts of health and well-being. Students will examine the medicinal properties of commonly used ingredients in Southeast Asian cuisine such as turmeric, lemon grass, garlic, and chili, as well as the different usage of rice and spices for healing purposes, including as ritualistic offerings to appease offending spirits.
|Subject||History / Social Studies|
|Topic||What is the connection between food and well-being in South-East Asia?|
|Key idea||In many parts of Southeast Asia, health and well-being are centred on the concept of equilibrium. Foods, herbs and spices are used to achieve equilibrium, as well as in ceremonies and rituals.|
Equilibrium and humours
Well-being (as a holistic concept)
|No. of periods / lessons||1 period or 2 periods if a traditional birth attendant is invited (1 period is approximately 50 minutes)|
|Facilities needed||Sources and handouts for distribution|
|Prerequisite knowledge||No prerequisite knowledge is required.|
By the end of the lesson, the students will be able to:
Download the lesson plan for details on the talks and activities suggested below.
1. Hook: Discussion
The students discuss their family practices when they suffer from small ailments such as a sore throat, toothache, flatulence, etc.: going to a western doctor or a pharmacy, natural remedies with herbs, spices and other foodstuff that can be found easier in their kitchens or backyards? Do they avoid or take more of certain foods to alleviate the symptoms?
2. Teacher talk: Perspectives on the humoral system
The lecture explains the concept of humoral system and its application in Southeast Asia. Students are encourages to discussed the practices in their families.
3. Group work: Pair work
In this activity students use a Venn diagram to reflect on the types of food considered as hot, cold or neutral in their family / community.
4. Teacher Talk
The lecture presents how food is used for medicinal and ritual purposes. It emphasizes how these traditions and knowledge are transmitted within the community and are part of the local culture and heritage.
5. Interview of a traditional birth attendant
Note: This activity is optional if the lesson can be conducted over 2 periods.
Students interview a traditional birth attendant. This activity encourages students to interact with members of the community by asking questions and appreciate the wealth of knowledge they have to share.
With more knowledge from the lesson and activities, students share other forms of traditional medicine in their culture that is made from natural ingredients that is prescribed for common ailments such as colds, sore throats, fever, flatulence, etc.
Home Extension Activity 1
Students research practices related to food preparation in their family / community? They interview members of the family to find out how cooking change food properties.
Home Extension Activity 2
Students research practices related to pregnancy and birth by interviewing a traditional birth attendant in their family / community.