North Dakota school's class teaches food science

HEBRON, N.D. (AP) — Taizalee Glass likes the newest class at Hebron Public School.

"You get to eat what you make, so that's pretty cool," the high school junior told The Bismarck Tribune.

She's one of three students in the school's food science and processing course, which started a few weeks ago in the new semester. The class, open to juniors and seniors, began its curriculum with food safety and sanitary practices before beginning meat science, including sausage stuffing.

Its hands-on approach is another aspect Glass said she enjoys. Teacher Riston Zielke said that's what he wanted for the class.

"I wanted to create a class where students are making more of a connection from taking agricultural products in their raw form and converting them into consumable products that we typically see on our table," said Zielke, who is also a cattle rancher and rodeo announcer.

His students will continue with meat science to learn about cuts, doneness and cooking different types of meat. Zielke said he'd eventually like to get into canning and food preservation, as well as ice cream and bread making.

He said his students seem to enjoy it and the class will likely grow after this trial semester.

"And part of the reason is, for a number of years, we've had a lot of interest in students talking about, 'Gosh, it would be really nice if we had a class where you could teach us these kinds of things,'" Zielke said. "So we're kind of catering to what the students have talked about, what they'd like to see in our curriculum."

Hebron Superintendent Myron Schaff commended the class's hands-on approach for students who largely hail from farm and ranch families — including Glass, who lives on a farm and cattle ranch near Hebron.

"Now they get to see that whole process," Schaff said. "And they don't just get to see it, they do it. And that's nice."

Grant money helped the school district purchase and upgrade equipment such as a smoker and stuffer for the class. The school district also sought and received approval from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction to register the class.

"We had a need. We had kids that wanted it. We had a teacher that wanted to teach it," Schaff said. "And so it just all fell together real nice."

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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