My students can rarely remember the names of dishes we’re making.

“Today, we’re making Ravioli. Ravioli is what we’re making. Can someone tell me what we’re making? It’s called Ravioli.”
“Ummm, Ravi-zza? Pizza. We’re making Pizza, definitely.”
“It’s Ravioli! We’re making Ravioli.”
“Got it, Pizza.”

Sometimes I rely on pizza in the name, even when the dish is nothing like it: it’s Pizza Souffle. But all they remember is the pizza part to tell their parents, leaving very confused parents when they actually get a look at the item. Often times I attempt to tell a story about the dish. Other times, I try to come up with silly ways to say things for them to remember. Case in point: focaccia.

But this one, I blame on the hub, who is currently working on a Frank Loesser revue.

What does that have to do with it? When hub works on a show, if music is available, he listens to the music relentlessly. Which means I listen to the music relentlessly. The current show of choice is Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella. The show features an older man who falls in love and wants to marry a younger woman. He loves her, but doesn’t think she’ll love him, so woos her with a picture of the young hunk that works for him. Craziness, mixed messages, and accidents ensue. As you might have guessed, older man iza nadda di smarteeest fella. He also speakaz withan a’Italiano accenta (even though his sister has no accent). The show is cute, it’s funny, and it leaves you with a hankering to speak with a fake Italian accent, or at least one verse repeatedly:

Hey, omma the most happy fella
In the whole Napa Valley/ In the whole’a Napa Valley
The most happy man, that’sa me!

So when we made focaccia in class the other week I did what is natural listening to the above on repeat: I introduced it with a horrible Italian accent.

“We-ah makin da’ focaccia.”

I might have also added a shaking right hand as I said it.

I might have also repeated it three or four times until they laughed.

But when we walked upstairs that day and I asked everyone– a whole hour after class: “Hey! What did we make today?!”
Every single one of them could say it:
“We-ah mada da focaccia.” And they all shook their right hand in the air as they said it.

I have to admit, it was pretty hilarious. Even the administration was laughing– They also gave me a roll of the eyes and a little, real nice stereotyping you’re teaching them. But hey, they remember what we made for once!

And they didn’t just remember it one hour later. How proud was I when a whole week later one of my first graders came tugging at my sleeve: “I remember what we made last week.”
“Yeah? What’s that?”
“We-ah mada da focaccia!” Complete with right hand wagging.

I couldn’t help but smile.

Fine, that’s-afine,
That’s-a fine
That’s-a fine

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