The food we eat

A local history lesson on the food history of Malabar


Grade : Class 7
Subject : History
Topic : The food we eat
Number of classes : 4 , 35 minutes each
Existing knowledge : Chapter 3 , class 6 : “From gathering to growing food”
Related chapter : Chapter 9, class 7, “The making of regional cultures”

This lesson aims at teaching class 7 students the local history of food by exploring the food culture of Malabar. The lessons are designed keeping in mind schools in Malabar region, especially Kozhikode. But since the food history is largely interlinked this lesson plan could be adopted for other districts of Kerala.
The lessons aims for the learner to gain an understanding of the change in relationship with food, against the backdrop of changing social structures, historic influences and economic policies of the state. This is primarily meant to start a conversation about food and to incite curiosity in the children regarding their past and history. It aims to help them see how history shapes the present.


1. Lesson plan
2. Student handouts
3. Evaluation
4. Assignment description for students
5. Reference books for teachers

Lesson plans

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Student Handouts

Additional handouts
The core content of the resources and the topic has been condensed into a pdf format for the teachers reference. Once the lessons are over, the teacher can hand this over to the students or make a simplified version for the student ( depending on student level)


Final Assignment
Divide the students into groups of 5. Ask them to pick their favorite dishes. They have to break it down in terms of what they studied ( history, culture, agricultural history, economic policy and technology )
They then have to construct maps of these dishes similar to the poster , but richer in terms of content and submit in a week. Groups are created to avoid problems with lack of information on any food item.

This assignment can be evaluated on the basis of how much connections the student can make. Evaluate the outcome of this assignment against the overall learning objective of the subject. An additional half day class can be used to discuss this assignment and the previous assignments within class. The food habits of generations can be compiled into one single A0 chart.


Lesson 1 : Preclass assignment
Choose a dish special to your home or community. Bring it to the next class to share it with your classmates. Write a short note (100 words) on its ingredients, stories that you know of about the dish and why you think it is special to your region and how it is unique to your region

Learning assessment assignment for lesson 1
Apart from the international influences on the cuisine, we can find a lot of similarities in the cuisine with the neighboring states. Can you list out a few examples ? Can you guess why they must have happened ?

Lesson 3 : Pre- class assignment
Similar to the chart (chart 1) shown to you, fill up a chart by asking your family members, neighbors etc regarding food fashions across generations. Ask questions to understand
1. The trending ( or possibly the only) restaurants of their time. The frequency of restaurant visits. The trending dishes in their youth.
2. Utensils/ kitchen practices which were common at their time which are not used today
3. What children used to buy from shops in their younger days across generations
4. Songs that have food mentioned in them
5. Movies about food or farming
6. Food and agriculture mentioned in books

Final assignment
Construct a food map indicating history, source of ingredients, economic history and technology of your favorite dish. Make it as elaborate as you want to.


1. A Survey Of Kerala History- by A Sreedhara Menon
2. Indian Food: A Historical Companion — by K.T. Achaya
3. Along the Pepper Trail — Ammini Ramachandran

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