Curriculum is a list of ingredients on a grocery store shopping list. The list tells you what items you need to buy, but with specific details omitted or left up to the shopper. All the shopper is given are the items, but no other information such as where to shop, what brand of item to buy, or how many is provided. The finer details of the items purchased are left up to the shopper. Two shoppers are given the same list of items and their shopping trips could go something like this:

Shopping List: eggs, milk, noodles, flour, cheese

Shopper A:                                                                                                                           

Shopper A is an inexperienced cook and lives in a small, rural town near Hazelton, BC. They do all of their shopping at the small corner store. They purchase eggs shipped in from the larger factory farm, local dairy milk from the farmer just out of town, flour which has been shipped and therefore quite expensive for a generic brand, and the only cheese available to them is sharp cheddar in a large block. Their shopping is limited because they do not live in an area where they have lots of choice on the types of ingredients they buy, and the cost of some items is quite expensive so they cannot buy the flour, for example, in large quantity. Shopper one is limited by their location which determines where they shop, what type of ingredients they buy and what quantity based on price and availability.

Shopper B:                                                                                                                          

Shopper B lives on a small organic farm on the Saanich Peninsula and does their shopping at local farm stands and al the organic market in Sidney. Shopper B has been cooking for over twenty five years. They have a family friend who provides them with farm fresh eggs, and a variety of white and brown eggs of their choosing. At the local market, farmer’s bring in a wide selection of oat-fed cow’s milk, heavy cream, or milk substitutes. Shopper 2 notices that they have the option to buy whatever milk product they want, as the list is not specific. They choose to pick up some heavy cream, 1% milk and some almond milk. Flour is in the bulk section, so they are able to buy lots without it going over their budget. Cheese is in abundance with choices including cheese curds, goats cheese or sharp cheddar from a local farm. They pick out a sharp cheddar and a fresh mozzarella to have some variety in their dish. Shopper two is presented with an abundance of choice as to what items they can buy which match those on the list they were given. Shopper two has access to variety and local products at a low, affordable price.

The two shoppers were given the exact same shopping list, but the type, quantity, quality and variety of ingredients they purchased differed based on  their decision making, location, background and experience. The choice is now up to them as to what meals they will make with these ingredients and what other ingredients they include is also up to them. The quality, variety, and quantity of ingredients will impact what meals they can make and serve. Their background cooking knowledge, access to other ingredients to combine with these basic staples, and interest of the people they are serving the food to will impact how they use the ingredients on the list.

Curriculum is a shopping list, where only the ingredients are provided, the rest is up to the shopper.