Saturday, January 8, 2011

What Does Decadent Chicken Have to Do With Writing?

Over the holiday break I gave my intermediate students an assignment to interview a family member or friend about a favorite recipe.  I wanted them to have a great conversation and to write what they learned about the recipe, it’s history, and the cook.  I wanted them to see that there are many forms of writing.  I wanted them to make connections with part of their heritage. 

I reminded them that we all eat.  We can learn many things from talking to our family about favorite foods.  I also figured that maybe they would go on to collect other recipes and this one would get them started.

When they came back from break about half had the assignment done.  Recipes ranged from sugar cookies to hot dogs, Campbell’s tomato soup with extra tomatoes and milk.  Many shared their version of macaroni and cheese.  One of my students asked me, “Did you bring in a recipe?”

I told him I hadn’t but I would bring one in.  I thought he had showed me a link that I had missed in making the assignment.  I had one class that didn’t get the assignment before Christmas.  So I adjusted the lesson and started with my recipe.  I told them a little about Donna Rose, the lady who originally given me the recipe.   I read them the recipe. 

We talked about the title – Decadent Chicken Wrap.  We discussed what decadent meant.  I asked – “What do you want to know about this recipe or who gave it to me?”  We talked about the importance of checking to make sure they had written everything down correctly.  Why was proof reading important?

Several of the students asked me if they could have a copy.  My answer was sure.  I printed the recipe and made it available for anyone who wanted to copy it down.  Next week I will read them the story “Miss Opal’s Auction” by Susan Vizurraga.  It is the story of an elderly lady who is moving and has an auction.  Her young neighbor is watching the things being sold and remembering all the good times they shared.  Miss Opal buys back one of her cookbooks and gives it to the girl. 

As I think back over my life - It was more than just great food. It was the conversations and the relationships that were built when we made it, talked about it.  It was really about family and friends who broke bread together.

Donna Rose gave me this recipe in January 2003.  She was one of my Library Volunteers and a fantastic cook.

Decadent Chicken Wrap

4-6 chicken breasts – pounded flat
1 slice bacon for each chicken breast
1 slice ham for each chicken breast
1 slice Swiss cheese for each chicken breast

Sauce Ingredients
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1 can cream chicken soup
½ package dry onion soup mix

Step 1:  Pound chicken breasts flat.  Lay bacon under chicken, place ham and Swiss cheese on top.

Step 2:  Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Put in 9 X 13 cooking dish.

Step 3:  Mix sour cream and soup.  Pour over and cover up chicken roll ups.

Step 4:  Cook about an hour at 325.


  1. Yum! Thanks for sharing the recipe. :) I, too, believe there is power when we write alongside our students, moving through the process as we expect them to do. Thanks for sharing your slice, Ruth

  2. I have been typing the recipes the kids brought in. I am going to partner them and have them discuss if all steps were included. The importance of proofreading.

  3. I appreciate your sharing about the process as well as the response to your assignment. The questions my students ask often points out directions I should have taken or will be taking in our future work together.

  4. iam fortunate in the library I have at least two of each grade level. So I can adjust and modify.I learn lots by the time I'm done.