Food, feelings, connection: JCPS teacher pens book about Food Literacy program

A local chef-turned-teacher can now add "author" to his resume.
Published: Oct. 3, 2019 at 6:17 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A JCPS teacher can now call himself a published author.

The book “Say Yes to Pears” is based on the lessons Fern Creek High School’s Brent Peters teaches in his Food Literacy classroom.

“We make connections that food automatically makes,” Peters said. “Connections to home, connections to who we are, connections to our stories. Connections to the world around us and our experience of it and finally connections to literature.”

It’s an English class. Students read the typical texts you’d expect, but with food pairings.

The former Mayan Café chef-turned-English teacher said his new book is a compilation of what he has taught and what he has learned from his students over the last decade. It includes recipes and stories from students.

When he made the career change 14 years ago, Peters didn’t expect that cooking would continue to take such a lead role in his life.

“But, I was knocking on the door the whole time,” Peters said.

After a few years of leading the school’s cooking club, Peters’ talents in the kitchen started translating to the classroom.

He and another teacher, the co-author of the book “Joe Franzen,” took the idea of a Food Literacy class to their principal. It’s been a staple in the English program since.

Peters said preparing for a meal is a lot like teaching.

“When you make something from the ground up, you make something wonderful and lovely and ... you give that over and hopefully the plates come back clean,” Peters said.

Ian Bischoff wrote about green spaghetti, Emily Chagala wrote about the tortillas her family made when she was little, and Molly Keep wrote about a random order with her family when out to dinner 10 years ago: Orange soda.

“Everyone has a story to tell,” Keep said. Keep’s story was about her family eating out together before her parents divorced; she said that’s why the orange soda memory stuck with her.

The students bring in food to share with each other and have a class meal.

“We get to be more together, and it’s more than just being at school; it’s being like a family,” Keep said.

Purchase your copy of “Say Yes to Pears” on Amazon by clicking here.

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