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The Hood Magazine

A Gr(eat) Lesson: How One Mom Made a Home School Project of the Burger Battle

Feb 25, 2021 04:20PM ● By The Hood Magazine
While the Downtown Sioux Falls Burger Battle had an enormous economic impact on downtown businesses this year, an equally large impact was the lesson it held for a local mom and her homeschooled son.

Anika Swensen hadn’t participated in previous years’ Burger Battles. Still, she saw the month- long competition this year as something that she and her 11-year-old son, Jasper, could do together while also supporting local business.

Jasper, who is entirely homeschool this year, asked to bring a notebook so that he could take notes on the burgers himself. When she saw how incredibly thoughtful and intentional he was in his opinions and ratings, Swensen saw it as an opportunity to blend the delicious fun into an economic and culinary lesson. Swensen helped guide her son through the homeschool lesson covering typical lessons like math and economics to the food critique of pairing complementary tastes, creativity, and presentation. Another of the studies that she was able to talk him through was that of supporting local businesses.

One of their discussions centered around the impact of a donation from MarketBeat, who pledged $1.00 for every burger sold to benefit Call to Freedom, a local non-profit. During his homeschool project, Jasper rated the burgers on his own. The conclusion? Minerva’s had the best overall burger, classic and filling. The best patty went to Swamp Daddy’s, where Jasper appreciated the addition of ground Andouille sausage to flavor their burger.

Overall, it was an experience that gave a value far beyond its intention and one that inspired Jasper to be creative in his own kitchen. He is currently preparing his own burger recipe and taking care of learning even more lessons like shopping and pricing ingredients, keeping track of costs per serving, choosing complementary sides, and maybe getting some lessons on the grill from his dad. It’s a flavorful creation including muenster cheese, a fried egg, hash brown patties, some bacon, and, well, we don’t want to give away his secret recipe, but we’re hoping to one day see it on the menu at one of our downtown locations.

While we know the economic impact this has had on our community, the creativity and originality from Swensen was a real-world application of some really cool and delicious lessons; some that she shares with us. “It has been fun to see all these different subjects come into one project. I feel it is important to teach our kids how to support our community, uplift, and encourage businesses (especially during this time that is so hard on the economy). If we are only concerned about ourselves, not many will get very far, but if we support each other, we can do so much more.”