This poem is one of a number that deal with the cultural mixture and diversity of society. Its metaphor is that of the recipe, the ingredients that go into making a good meal. It can be used as a stimulus in a number of ways, and teachers can select relevant approaches for their own students.
This resource can act as a focus for considering how societies (not just Britain) are made of diverse ingredients. A typical lesson could take a three-part structure:
As a result of the work, students should have had an enjoyable literary experience that has provided them with insights into the positive benefits of a diverse community.
- First, students can prepare for reading the poem by thinking about the notion of diversity through an area such as language. Teachers could give young people examples of words that come from other cultures such as words for different foods. Students could then bring in recipes from home of their favourite dishes or meals and discuss where the ingredients come from and so on, as the teacher sees relevant for their class.
- Second, students read and comment on the poem by Benjamin Zephaniah, perhaps in relation to the first activity, guided by the teacher. This will allow students to understand the poem in a more relevant way and in context to the ingredients that 'make a good meal'.
- Third, students can then follow on from studying the poem, for example:
- add a section of their own to the poem:
- create a word mosaic of words from different cultures with their meanings and origins
- write about their own community or culture using the poem as a model;
- research and write about other countries and how they have become 'good mixtures';
- research and find other poems that celebrate how cultural and linguistic diversities bind together;
- look for images to illustrate the poem and create a poster with the images linked to the text;
- create a PowerPoint version of the poem inserting images and music.