Beef: From Classroom to Classroom

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One group of teachers working on their beef sausage entry to the contest.

The smell of beef cooking filled the meeting room at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort as teachers bustled about, working to prepare the perfect beef sausage. The 2017 Career and Technical Education (CTE) conference was underway, and the Beef Sausage Making course was the highlight of the schedule. Annually, teachers gather from across Arizona to participate in learning opportunities in order to bring more knowledge back to their classrooms to extend to their students. These CTE teachers were from the culinary, food service and family and consumer science departments of their respective high schools. 

In July, Tiffany Selchow and Lauren Maehling, Arizona Beef Council (ABC), with Shayla Hyde, ABC intern, along with University of Arizona Food Product and Safety Lab Director Dr. Sam Garcia led a group of 30 teachers in a three-hour-long session. They presented a lesson on Beef 101, as well as a section on processed meats: where it comes from and how it is made. Following the lesson, Dr. Garcia led the teachers in making their very own beef sausage. In this session, the teachers also received the first opportunity to apply for the Beef Up the Classroom grant which reimburses teachers for beef purchases.

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Dr. Sam Garcia and students taught teachers how to grind and stuff sausage.

The teachers were split into groups of three with access to an array of spices and ingredients for flavoring and about an hour and a half to do it all. The teachers collected their beef trimmings and Dr. Garcia, along with two of his students, ground the meat. The teams created a recipe and mixed in their seasonings. It was all stuffed into casings and then cooked to be presented for sampling and judging. The sausage was judged and enjoyed, and the winners were announced.

The winning teachers were Pattie Pastor and Catherine Marshall from Flagstaff High School and Stephanie Adams from Casa Grande High School. They each were awarded a griddle, hand-grinder, and stuffer for their classrooms.

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Seasoning is an important part of the equation for a delicious beef sausage!

With this experience fresh in their minds, the teachers could incorporate their learnings into their lesson plans and even build a curriculum around the outline of the workshop. The teachers left with extra sausages and smiles on their faces.

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