Monday, April 1, 2019

Homeschooling the Teen Years - Pig Shaped Cakes and American Fast Food in Asia

One of the older kids has a trip, planned for this summer, to teach English in Asia (with a legitimate organization and traveling with a very trusted, and travel-seasoned, family member).  I'll hopefully have a lot to post on that later in the summer, but for now we've been having fun checking out what the Internet has to tell us about the differences between the countries of Asia and our own, so we can all feel like we're in on the trip.

Somewhere along the way, we happened onto McDonald's Chinese website.

T (age 21) has worked for the fast food chain through college, and as a business major he is always interested to see how American companies function abroad.  We actually spent a fair amount of time reading news reports about a food handling scandal that caused trouble for a number of American fast food chains in China a few years ago.

All that is irrelevant though, because this post is really about the absolutely adorable, custard cream cheese pig cakes we found on the website.  It is so unfair we cannot get anything at all this cute from our local fast food chains!
From what we could gather, using Google translate, the pig cake and the little orange cake (which seem to be filled with a orange flavored chocolate mousse) were a temporary, seasonal, menu item marking the Chinese New Year for the Year of the Pig (2019).  We watched a quick "for kids" educational presentation about the Chinese New Year from Panda Express...

... and then decided that we needed some pig cakes of our own.

I'd love to say we managed to recreate some kind of pig shaped cheesecake even remotely similar to the McCafe version, but honestly we just crumbled up some cake and frosting, cake-pop style...

... and rolled into balls... shape our little pigs.

We tried piping on chocolate frosting eyes, but in the end decided on mini M&M's instead.

Our cakes didn't end up looking much like the originals (or really even pigs - we probably should have used a strawberry cake).  I'm sure they taste nothing like the "McCakes" either, but we had a lot of fun putting them together while watching every YouTube video we could find about American fast food chains in Asia (there are a surprising number).

Later, we'll get more seriously into our cultural studies (we've actually been watching a number of BBCish travel documentaries, too).  Or, we might just wait for a report back from our own traveler.  But, starting off with something familiar and yet different, gave us an interesting jumping off point, and helped highlight some differences between cultures in a way that wasn't overwhelming.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Dawn said...

The pig cakes are so cute. What an exciting opportunity for your child to teach abroad.
Blessings, Dawn

Ticia said...

One of my friends just sent her daughter over to Japan to teach at a Christian school for a year, and I'm super looking forward to what she learns.

I went to Hong Kong as a freshman in high school with my family (long story), but it was fascinating to see how different McDonalds was there versus in the US.