We made a recipe book. Here’s a link to download your own copy. If you try any of the recipes, please tell us how they went. Multi-cultural recipe book (PDF 2MB).

Communicating cross-culturally with food, literacy and numeracy

We have been working with The Selwyn Foundation for over 3 years, providing Business Communication Skills Courses through literacy and numeracy for their staff. To date, we have delivered training to over 200 Selwyn Foundation staff.

The Selwyn Foundation’s new model of care, where care is planned and delivered with residents, encourages a sense of being at home through smaller community groups in a ‘household’. As in our own homes, this household model enables individuals to make decisions, build relationships and develop a sense of belonging. The move towards a new model of care, sparked the idea for an Advanced Business Communication Skills Course, to include digital literacy, financial literacy and further upskilling in communication skills to support the success of the ‘households’ and to reflect this sense of belonging for staff.

Once the course began, the learners took the initiative and organised a schedule for staff working in the same ‘house’ to bring afternoon tea to the course, on a rotation basis. As a result, food became an integral part of our lessons, where our eating time became an opportunity to talk through various aspects of the lesson and how that applied to our work and our lives.

Our course also had a project focus which the learners would present at the Graduation. So when the project decision-making started, it was an obvious choice that food and health would be included.

The Selwyn Advanced Business Communication Course Multicultural Recipe book emerged as our project. We wanted to encourage a healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating, and since our group was multicultural, we decided to make a recipe book that included foods from our individual cultures, and adapted our traditional recipes to be low sugar, low fat and low salt. Creating, designing, deciding, discussing and editing the recipe book incorporated many aspects of the course: computer, numeracy, literacy, vocabulary, speaking and writing skills.

Food is a good way to communicate cross-culturally and we wanted to share this with The Selwyn Foundation. At the Graduation, the course participants brought the dish that they had included in the recipe book, and everyone at the Graduation sampled the food and took a recipe book home.

The recipe book included dishes from Tonga, Fiji, Niue, Ethiopia, Samoa and New Zealand.

Joining a literacy and numeracy course that focusses on our individual communication skills and abilities (spoken, numeracy, written or digital), makes us step out of our comfort zones and allows us to be vulnerable. Being able to work together to build on our existing skills and develop and improve our skills further, improves confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Learning by working together reminds us of the quote by Benjamin Franklin:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

We think we were able to achieve this on the course.