Advertisements in German-American Cookbooks

A Taste of History: Lesson Plan 2

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Advertisements in German-American Cookbooks


German, Levels I and II


1-2 class periods


By the end of this unit students will have learned about:

  • Working with authentic historical material
  • How the language of German immigrants changed, as they lived in an English speaking environment

They also will be able to:

  • Interpret an advertisement from a historic German-American cookbook.
  • Recognize and use German vocabulary related to food, especially ingredients and baking supplies

Resources and Materials Needed

Introductory Activities

  • Students brainstorm words that relate to baking

Working with Pictures and Text

Activity I: Analyzing an German-American Advertisement from 1894

  1. Individual or Partner Work: Teacher selects images from Deutsch-Amerikanische Feinbäckerei. Each student or team will work with a different picture. Students will:
    1. Find out, what product is advertised
    2. Who is selling the product and from where
    3. Make a list of all English words in the advertisement. What do these words have in common?
    4. Make a list of German words, related to foods
  2. Class discussion: All students and teams will share their findings. As a class, they will discuss what the advertisements have in common, what kind of shifts they can observe from German to English, and why they think this happened.

Activity II: Describing a Picture

  1. Partner Work: Students will work with those advertisements that include pictures, for example Heide’s ächte Almondpaste. One student will describe the picture to his partner, who will draw it, without seeing it. These drawings can be done on an overhead transparency and be shared with the whole class. If different teams have used different pictures, the whole class can describe the drawing and try to guess what the original picture was about.
  2. Comparing Old and New: Using the images on Heide’s ächte Almondpaste, students will compare the “old way” with the “new way”. This can be used to reinforce the use of tenses in German. For example: “Früher (rührte) hat der Bäcker die Mandelmasse selbst gerührt. Heute benutzt er Mandelmasse aus der Dose….”

Hands-on Activities

Activity I: Creating an Advertisement

Individual, Partner or Group Work: Students will create a poster, advertising a modern kitchen appliance to a German audience.

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