Friday, February 25, 2011

Mayonnaise. Its delicious.

This morning in my ELL (English Language Learners) class, I was going over a new list of vocabulary and we got stuck on two concepts that completely dumbfounded my students. First of all, it sounds really strange to call them students, because they are all older than me. It sounds even stranger to refer to them as my students, but that is not the point here. I was trying to teach them these two very simple ideas: there is food that is delicious, and there is food that tastes terrible. Sounds easy enough, no? No.

Good gosh. It was like I was explaining Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which I probably could have done much better than I did today. I showed them pictures of cookies, cake, ice cream, and hamburgers, and repeated "delicious" over and over and over again. And I described that I really like cookies, cake, ice cream and hambugers, so I think they are delicious. And then I pointed to pickles and said I really do not like pickles, so I think they taste terrible. My students got so excited about these concepts. They laughed out loud, hysterically in fact, as I went on and on about things that are delicious and things that taste terrible. What in the world is so freaking funny about pickles tasting terrible to me?

Anyway, after I literally could not think of another way to describe the difference between delicious/terrible, I turned it over to them and got the class to tell me foods they think are delicious or terrible. And this is no lie: all of them proceeded to tell me how delicious mayonnaise is, and it is their favorite food, and it does not taste terrible to them. All of them! I thought maybe they were trying to say something different and mayo was just the word that was coming out of their mouths, so I went to the refrigerator and brought them a jar of mayo and asked them if this is what they are talking about. Yes! Yes! Mayonnaise! Mayonnaise! They lit up like a light bulb when I showed them the dadgum jar of mayonnaise. What the what?!

Absolutely clueless as to what the heck was going on, I acknowledged their love of mayonnaise and asked them what else they thought was delicious. "Mayonnaise! Mayonnaise is delicious!" Holy cow. I have never seen anybody so excited about a condiment. They told me they didn't think any food tasted terrible, and mayonnaise tasted delicious. I tried to explain that more than one food can taste delicious. For example, I (pointing to myself) think cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, and chocolate cake are ALL delicious foods. Not just one, but all of them are delicious. This might just be why I have not lost my baby weight. Just a thought. Simple enough? NO! Mayonnaise is delicious! To teach a concept that probably should have taken less than three minutes, we spent no less than an hour talking guessed it...mayonnaise. And how delicious it is, and there is no other food out there that tasted terrible.

Having said all that, this class is great. We really have a good time, and I end up doing a lot of role playing and acting like a fool to try to get my point across. It is bascially a giant two hour long game of charades. But it works, and I think they are learning enough to survive out there in the foreign land of Oxford, Mississippi. I'm going to go make a mayonnaise sandwich now just to see what the big deal is.

I dedicate this post to Nikki, who has an ever growing fear of mayonnaise. I thought she would appreciate this more than the average joe.


nateandnikkibonham said...

I almost did not read this post based solely on the fact that the title is "Mayonnaise. It's delicious." I was thisclose to boycotting your blog.

Hannah said...

This is so funny! Oh man, I wan to teach ESL now. What's so great about mayonaise? I mean I like it on sandwiches and all, but it doesn't, like, blow my mind or anything.