Introduction & Dedication

The "Advanced Placement Home Economics" class lasted for 50 years, from learning agriculture, science, and history to skill-building risk-taking, confidence-boosting, and patience, enriched by storytelling, connectedness, and love.


Drew Williams

9/24/20233 min read

My "Advanced Placement Home Economics" class was not your typical cooking course. It was an immersive educational experience that spanned over 50 years, providing me with a comprehensive understanding of food and its significance in our lives. From instruction and hands-on practicums to research studies and exams, this class taught me the importance of delving deep into the education behind culinary techniques and ingredients.

Exploring a Tapestry of Learning Modules

My Home Economics class exposed me to a rich tapestry of learning modules that went beyond the essential recipes. We covered food chemistry, agriculture, canning and freezing processes, health benefits, religion, history, and cultures. Through this diverse curriculum, I discovered the importance of trying something before passing judgment on it. Each dish had a story to tell, and I learned that storytelling was as vital as the food in creating a memorable dining experience.

Science, History, and Health Through the Lens of Food

One of the highlights of my extensive home economics course was delving deep into food chemistry. I was fascinated by how different preparation methods could transform the same ingredients. This curiosity led me on an exciting ice cream journey where I explored the science behind this frozen delight. To further my knowledge, I attended the 131st annual Penn State University Ice Cream Short Course, immersing myself in milk's chemical composition, ice crystals' formation, and the complexities of flavorings and federal regulations.

Beyond the realm of science, I developed a keen interest in food anthropology during my Home Economics class. I began exploring the symbolism of foods in religious practices and their cultural significance tied to different geographical regions. Additionally, I learned about the sobering reality of food scarcity and the staggering number of hungry children, which, even in the U.S., stood at a shocking 9 million. Understanding food's cultural, historical, and social aspects broadened my perspective and ignited a desire to make a positive difference.

Influence of My "AP Home Economics" Teacher

The guiding force behind this "AP Home Economics" journey was Honora Fudala Williams, my mother. Only an educator in home economics, a catalyst for nurturing talent, and a trailblazer in school lunch programs. She profoundly understood the interconnectedness of food, education, nutrition, and personal development. Her teaching instilled adventure, a willingness to take risks, and a means of bringing people together to create a community. One particularly memorable moment stands out: during her time at Mansfield University, she fearlessly attempted to create a chocolate soufflé, a dish she had never encountered. Despite her professor's skepticism, she persevered and earned an outstanding A+.

A Fitting Tribute: Continuing the Legacy

A poignant memory lingers from the hours before my mother's passing. Together, we initiated a batch of sweet pickles intended for home canning. During this process, she advised using cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. When the time came for me to complete the project on my own as my final exam, I had the "ah-ha" moment – the cider vinegar and the other ingredients comprised the syrup for her renowned pickled beets. Amidst the grief, the kitchen filled with the perfect blend of aromas, and the pickles turned out perfectly: an A+. Last year, I decided to honor her legacy by utilizing her recipes to home-can assorted items (including her cinnamon pickles), which I then entered into four Pennsylvania fairs where I garnered 13 ribbons and another resounding A+.

Every Christmas, I would gift my mother a journal and ask her to fill it with memories, thoughts on food, and stories. This year, I summoned the strength to read through those journals. Coincidentally, my mother had discussed the idea of a blog for my ice cream-making journey, even enlisting a friend to create an ice cream print quilt to symbolize her unwavering support. And so, I proudly launched this blog, dedicated to my mother, to share my culinary adventures and increase awareness of the significance of food.

Breaking Bread: Sharing Your Ingredients

Through this blog, I hope to encourage you to share your own stories around the table, recount your culinary adventures, and nudge you to explore ways to use food as a community-building catalyst. Food connects us all, and we can create positive change by embracing its rich tapestry of flavors, cultures, and experiences.