What's on the Menu
Isle Of May National Nature Reserve, Expedition Pack (SNH)
- To appreciate how people's diet has changed through history
- To compare 21st century lunch with people's food through history
You will need
- Menu sheet (see downloads)
Did you know?
Rabbits are not native to Britain, they were introduced by the Romans as a source of meat and kept in enclosed warrens. However they soon escaped and bred ....well, like rabbits!
Before the activity
Prepare the menu sheet. The menus in the downloads section are taken from the Isle of May Expedition Pack and would be suitable for use on other Scottish islands and coastal settlements. Adapt them to your particular site/visit. The Lighthouse Keeper could be replaced with a soldier if you are visiting somewhere with an old military fort or the disciple replaced with a farmer or foreste, e.g. Check the history of where you are going, and pull characters and dates from there. Use the Internet to find out what would have been eaten in these parts at that time.
Hand out the Menu sheet over the lunch break. The pupils have to work out which menu fits which date and which person. They can make educated guesses from the historical information they've gathered since they arrived. Ask them to put the menus in chronological order. Discuss how and why diets have changed over time.
Which seems the tastiest menu? The most healthy and least healthy menus?
- Menu 1 = Benedictine Monk 1250 AD
- Menu 2 = Lighthouse Keeper 1860
- Menu 3 = NNR Warden Today
- Menu 4 = WW2 ROC observer 1942
- Menu 5 = Hunter-gatherer 6000 BC
- Menu 6 = St. Ethernan’s Disciple 700 AD
Suggested follow up
Discuss with the class what they have eaten today. Take example items, e.g. an orange or chocolate biscuit, and discuss the technology that is involved in getting these exotic foods to us. Are there any foods in the packed lunch boxes that were made, caught or produced by the packed lunch box owner? Are there any foods that were grown or made within 20km of the packed lunch box owner's home? Discuss the energy requirements of our modern food (electricity for refrigeration, fuel for transport, agriculture and packaging etc.).
See the activity Sustainable Packed Lunch
- Health and well-being - main
- Social studies - main