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[My Story with GDUFS] A Reversal of Fortune (Cookies)

-- Making peanut butter cookies with my students

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Written by: Ann Perry
Photo by:Ann Perry
Edited by:Li Wanxin, James Campion |  Date:2015/11/1543 Hits

My Student

 

These are the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies faculty and administrators in my oral English class. For almost all of them, I am the first foreign teacher they have ever had. I wanted to share my American culture with them, so I invited them over to make cookies. I made sure they understood they didn’t have to like or eat them. Kind of the “chicken feet” snack thing in reverse. I am brave about trying many new foods, but at chicken feet I draw the line. I figure there are some things people don’t have to like, and the Chinese don’t have the sweet tooth that Americans have. But my students liked the cookies! And they took maybe 400 pictures.

 

Measuring

 

Having never used measuring spoons or cups, my students were unfamiliar with the concept of filling the cup completely. The idea of packing the brown sugar into the cup was completely new (and suspicious) to them.

 

 

 

“What is that?” Click, click, click.

 

“That’s butter. You can buy it in China, only it’s really expensive. About $5 (30 kuai) per half-pound (quarter kilo). It makes things taste good.”

 

“Hmm. We don’t use butter.”

 

Hmm. Maybe that’s why Chinese are so much thinner than Americans.

 

 

Stirring

 

 One woman suggested we add milk or water to all those dry ingredients. She was in awe that it became so moist without adding additional liquid. Then we added the flour.

 

 

Forming

 

 We formed them into balls and rolled them in sugar. All these cooking terms became the new vocabulary words for the day. I thought some might like the cookies with less sugar and showed them how to make a crisscross pattern using a fork. They gasped with delight that this could be done. Click, click, click.

 

 

 

The finished product. And aren’t they proud! They all had a record of the big event. Photos were immediately posted to WeChat for them and a blog for us.

 

 

Sharing a cookie with my husband Kent

 

 

Bella and Edith

 

We voted. More people liked the cookies with the chocolate kisses on top than without. Given more time, I just know I could sway the Chinese towards the sweet, dark, chocolate side of culinary life.

 

 

 

I showed them how real Americans settle disputes. Here Julian and David arm wrestle for…something. I forget. But it was always more about the arm wrestling than about the prize. (Note: David won. But when David and I demonstrated arm wrestling in class, I won. David is no fool.)

 

 

 

Note here: David asked us, “What is that?” “It’s an oven.” David turned to Julian, “I want an oven. I’m going to get one.”

 

 

 

One of the gifts they brought me – a beautiful fruit basket!

 

 

A great day making cookies with my students!

 

We were told before we came, “You will not change China; China will change you.” My heart has forever been changed by the people I have encountered here. GDUFS has been a wonderful place to experience the best China has to offer. I highly recommend it.