I think the classroom should be fun and exciting and since I love telling stories, much of our time is spent doing just that, as well as discussing important events, individuals and long-term historical processes.
We also read original sources and view contemporary images, learning how history is always a matter of interpretation. We learn to think critically about what historians have written about the past and how their ideas are shaped by their own interests and biases. The same body of evidence can be used to defend very diverse positions and rarely are there plain and straight-forward facts to be memorized. By getting our hands dirty with primary documents, we learn how to write history well, how to support an argument, and ultimately how to tell a good story.
I also think that the skills one learns in my classes make students better researchers, thinkers and writers in whatever professions they decide to pursue.
Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific. He has authored or edited 25 books on food including Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet, Beans (winner 2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award), Pancake, Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food and Nuts: A Global History. He was co-editor of the journal Food, Culture and Society and has also co-edited The Business of Food, Human Cuisine, Food and Faith and edited A Cultural History of Food: The Renaissance and The Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies. Albala was editor of the Food Cultures Around the World series, the 4-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia and the 3-volume Sage Encyclopedia of Food Issues published in 2015. He is also series editor of Rowman and Littlefield Studies in Food and Gastronomy for which wrote Three World Cuisines (winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards best foreign cuisine book in the world for 2012). He has also co-authored two cookbooks: The Lost Art of Real Cooking and The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home. More recently are a Food History Reader and a translation of the 16th century Livre fort excellent de cuysine. His course Food: A Cultural Culinary History is available on DVD from the Great Courses and is free online as a podcast. More recently, At the Table: Food and Family Around the World was published and most recently Noodle Soup: Recipes, Techniques, Obsession.