Classroom Activity
Native American Pudding!
Children will whip up a pudding that whets their appetite for learning new concepts and investigating other cultures.

AGES 5–6
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Materials:

  • ingredients to make pudding
  • bowls, utensils

Objective: Children will make a traditional Native American pudding, and the process will encourage the development of sensory awareness, science, math, and social studies concepts.

ACTIVITY

Explain to children that they will make a traditional Native American cornmeal pudding. Many East Coast tribes made this pudding and taught settlers how to make it as well. Settlers called it "hasty pudding". The pudding is made with cornmeal and uses a variety of wonderful spices. Give children an opportunity to notice the changes that occur to the ingredients and to smell the different spices used in the recipe. Make an illustrated recipe chart for the children to follow. Send home a copy of the recipe for children and parents to make at home.

Recipe: Native American Cornmeal Pudding

4 cups milk
1 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup light molasses or maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup cloves
1/2 cup ginger
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup fine chopped dried apples (optional)
2 eggs
butter (for greasing baking dish)

In a big pan, bring the milk to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal, stirring rapidly to keep lumps from forming. Lower heat and beat vigorously until it starts to get thick (about five minutes). Remove from heat. Add butter, sugar, spices, and molasses or maple syrup. Let cool. Stir in two beaten eggs. Pour into a buttered baking dish and bake for 50-60 minutes at 325 [DEGREE SIGN]F or until pudding is firm. Serve warm. You can serve it with vanilla yogurt or frozen yogurt.

Remember: An adult must supervise when adding cornmeal to boiling milk.

Curriculum Connection

Family Involvement: Corn Recipes.
Engage children in a discussion about things they already know about corn and ask them why they think it was, and still is, an important food. What are the different ways they have eaten corn? Send a note home to parents requesting favorite recipes that use corn. Incorporate the different recipes into your cooking activities to learn how corn is used in different cultures and in different ways.

BOOKS
Corn Is Maize: The Gift of the Indians by Aliki
(Econo-Clad Books, 1999; $12.90)
The Path of the Quiet Elk: A Native American Alphabet Book by Virginia A. Stroud
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 1996; $14.89)
Sing a Song of Popcorn by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, et al
(Scholastic Inc.; $14.21)