Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


This dissertation examines the link between cooking and learning. It first examines John Dewey’s pedagogical philosophy in which he asserts that the kitchen laboratory was an ideal learning environment to teach and learn about a broad range of subjects, an illustration of Dewey’s philosophical notions about true experiential education. Second, there is an examination of a Home Economic Department and its historical role in teaching cooking which introduces the issues of cooking and learning in the post secondary, higher education context. Finally to determine whether Dewey’s kitchen-based pedagogical approach applied in higher education, a pedagogical experiment was undertaken in which cooking was integrated into a college-level humanities course on food and culture. Reported as a case study, the ‘experiment’ was to recreate Dewey’s University of Chicago Laboratory School’s curriculum with 28 college-aged students in a kitchen laboratory at the University of Vermont. This qualitative research yielded results that suggest that Dewey’s methodology is a highly effective pedagogy at the college level and enhances students’ learning about the role of food in their own and in other cultures. Finally, these findings make the case for including more interdisciplinary, experientially based learning opportunities in higher education, generally, and for using food laboratories as a site for such learning opportunities.