language connectED had the pleasure of partnering with the Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) Culinary Literacy Center to develop, design, and implement a new library initiative, Edible Alphabet, in 2015. Edible Alphabet is a complementary learning supplement for existing English as a Second Language Programs in the Philadelphia community. Edible Alphabet materials utilize the state-of-the-art industrial kitchen at the Central FLP to assist learners in building their language, culinary skills, and self-confidence through the kitchen. The curriculum focuses on how to read recipes, measurements in English, language for discussing menus, how to ask for ingredients in the grocery store, and how to cook nutritious meals, among others. By engaging with the universal medium of food, learners begin to acquire vocabulary for ingredients, measurements, and cooking. Then learners practice their English speaking skills while collaborating in small groups during language exercises and food preparation. And the best part? Classes end with a taste test of the recipe that learners cooked and a conversation about flavors, colors, and textures of their dish.
Recently, the innovative program was selected to present to the international Library community at the Next Library 2017 conference in Denmark, June 2017. A group of our library partners from the FLP, led by Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Culinary Literacy Center Administrator, presented on the Edible Alphabet program. The presentation was met with intrigue and curiosity on how to take this program to libraries across the globe. While expansion to that level is not on the radar (yet!), the Edible Alphabet has branched out to two additional library branches in Philadelphia this summer, using a mobile kitchen to help facilitate the cooking. Congratulations to our partners at the FLP on their presentation! We look forward to our work on the Edible Alphabet program as it continues to develop.