Friday, September 19, 2008

Pease Porridge Hot

...Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

It's amazing how much you can find about this lowly little rhyme if you google it! This one is my favorite for general overall historical information, but this one is my REAL favorite.

Our version of Pease Porridge came from a recipe (which we only adapted a little!) included as part of the Learning Adventures curriculum, A World of Adventures, the Middle Ages unit. Rather than celebrate in high style, we marked the completion of the unit with a more "common" meal - the very commonly consumed Pease Porridge, accompanied by Bannock, for dipping.

It was recommended that the bannock rest for at least six hours before being sliced, so the girls and I followed THAT recipe (also in the curriculum) the day before we made the pease porridge, which we planned to eat WAY before it was nine days old!

Cooperative cooking - Jelly added the buttermilk to the dry ingredients while Doodle did the kneading.

Jelly watches, glad it's not HER hands in the bowl, as the Doodle enjoys really getting into mixing the dough. The right child for the right job is critical!

"Hands-on" takes on a whole new meaning!

Doodle made sure to remove her ring before plunging whole-heartedly into the messy mass.

The toothpick hole in the center proved it was done.

Letting the completed loaf of bannock rest overnight was SO hard for both the girls - they were VERY anxious to taste the results of their labors!

It was even harder the next day... at first the cooking peas smelled, uh, like cooking peas. Our fire came from the gas stove rather than a stone fireplace, and our bubbling cauldron was stainless steel, but it still FELT like medieval times!

As the flavors melded, and the aroma filled the house, everyone was more than ready for dinner when the time finally came.
We gave the pot a final stir - this is a Day 1 image of our Pease Porridge, which we made with corned beef, because that's what we had on hand.

Doodle, dipping!

Jelly's ready for a medieval adventure in eating, too! (*Note: Daddy and the girls built the Harry Potter/Hogwarts Lego castle in the background and it worked well as the set for acting out some of the stories we read!)

Our pease porridge didn't last nine days, but we did get three meals out of it! Yummy! I'm sure we'll be using those recipes again in the future, just because.

Now let me back up a bit, though, and describe a bit of the adventures that took place during our study of the Middle Ages.

Because we were focusing on a fairly in-depth lapbook for the botany we learned during this unit, the girls added pages to their Books of the Centuries instead. As we notebooked, we listened to lots of Gregorian Chant - the only recordings of Middle Ages music that we could find. The girls can now identify that style no matter what the setting. :o)

We used Amy Pak's timeline figures, (we have the CDs - so excellent!) and then did notebook pages and minibooks which the girls put on cardstock pages. Doodle is a HUGE paperdoll fan (like her Grandma NanZ), so we also added a pocket page to store some Medieval Costume Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney that we got from Dover Publications.

The recommended books in this unit are The Door in the Wall, by Marguerite De Angeli, the story of a medieval boy who loses the use of his legs, but discovers a door in the wall, and Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray, a story of a father and son wandring minstrel team who are separated from one another during the Middle Ages. We enjoyed both the stories very much.

Because the main character in The Door in the Wall learns to whittle, so did the girls!

Their projects were done in Ivory Soap rather than wood. They first traced the soap to make sure their project would fit, then created a design, which they then outlined on the soap.

Doodle made a shining star - and hadn't had enough carving, so she also made a castle, which I don't have a picture of... yet.

Jelly's first creation was a lovely heart. She, too, hadn't had enough - she's still working to finish a carving of a jumping dolphin.

I highly recommend this project... it was a big hit!

Jelly (my voracious reader!)and I also read the Midwife's Apprentice and Matilda Bone, both by Karen Cushman, and from the Royal Diaries series - Eleanor, Crown Jewel of Aquitaine. Since the Adam book was from a boy's perspectice, Eleanor and the two Cushman books gave us the chance to "see" life from a girl's point of view.

Another extra book that the three of us read aloud together was a short, but fun, one from the the Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka called Knights of the Kitchen Table. Good general information in a light-hearted book appropriate for younger readers.

Our homeschool/family friends from Vancouver, WA, also studying the Middle Ages, recommended a series of videos from Schlessinger Media. Thanks, guys!! We were fortunate to find them at our local library - a series of six. The first, Life in the Middle Ages, is a good overview. The other five each focus on one type of person and their life - we learned about nobles, knights, serfs, monks, and doctors.

The "picture books" we read together and the other videos we watched are too numerous to mention, but they included most of what our library had (or could get for us!) on the Middle Ages, knights, castles, cathedrals, King Arthur, Camelot, the Prince and the Pauper, etc. A couple that really stood out were Kids in the Middle Ages, by Lisa A. Wroble, and A Medieval Feast, by Aliki.

A fantastic resource was a book we discovered called Knights and Castles, by Avery Hart and Paul Mantel. The subtitle is 50 Hands-On Activities to Experience the Middle Ages -- extremely cool! There is information presented in an easy-to-read-and-understand format and then corresponding projects and activities to go with many of the mini-articles - a winning combination.

The girls each designed and created a personal coat of arms, illustrated an "illuminated manuscript" with a huge letter of their first name, and did a comparison study of the armor of knights and the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

We jumped into our study of the Middle Ages from an intense focus on Cinderella Stories Around the World - so very "princess-y" - and I wasn't sure the girls would enjoy a time in history when the focus was so NOT on women. We learned a lot, and had castle-sized fun.

Truly, it was a wonderful Learning Adventure!

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