Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What's cooking?

After all the panic stories about Britain's children getting ever fatter, there's now even more worry - that children aren't being taught to cook at school. While this is all very dismaying for our nanny state, teachers are complaining that the low priority given to teaching cookery in schools is because of the government's insistence on giving greater priority to things like English or Maths. Apparently kids nowadays are more likely to draw pictures of how to ice a cake than to actually bake one. While I appreciate that for many children, the only experience of preparing or cooking food will come at school, it comes to the point that, yet again, schools are being asked to teach things that parents should.

I had two years of cookery lessons at my secondary school, and I can honestly say they were useless. I daresay my Home Ec teacher still remembers me with a shudder: and the Cornish pasty so large I could only fit it diagonally onto the baking tray, or the pastry I made at home not under my teacher's supervision. Cookery lessons at schools need to be practical: ingredients are expensive if the finished products don't turn out well, and I don't ever remember making something (apart from the gigantic pasty) that would have served as a full meal for a family of four. In fact, I learned more about cooking from my parents, and because they were willing to let me try things at home, than from school lessons. As for learning about nutrition - well, that's what biology lessons are for, surely?


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