Monday, 9 February 2009

Cookery lessons

No, not at school, at home, but I’m posting about it because I had agreed with the boys that I would teach them to cook. I am determined that by the time they leave home they will be able to cook, manage their money, operate a washing machine (and iron), keep their room / home in some sort of reasonable state, and organize themselves. There’s nothing less appealing than a bloke who still can’t boil an egg at the age of 25, and no excuse for it either in these enlightened times. Just in case you’re wondering, yes this is completely one-sided on my part, so please feel free to throw things at me. I have no intention of picking up a power drill or using the lawnmower. Readers who know me personally may – rightly perhaps – question my motives. Surely I just want to be waited on hand and foot and as soon as possible, princess style ? Damn, rumbled again. In fact I really do rather like the idea of pottering round the kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, glass of wine in hand, having some bonding time with the boys and giving them a useful life skill, especially for our household: how to use the corkscrew.

Seriously though, I’m fully of the opinion that the decline in the health and increase in obesity of the UK population is due to a complete inability to cook for many people, after cookery was taken out of the school curriculum. The whole of my year group had cookery and nutrition lessons for the duration of the third year at secondary school – but that was 1982, it’s no longer on the national curriculum in the UK, and hasn’t been for quite some time.

I have no idea if the boys will learn cookery at Swiss school – there are teaching kitchens on the lower ground floor of the school, but I don’t know who uses them – perhaps they are for evening classes. But it doesn’t matter – the boys wanted to get started right away and I didn’t want to dampen their enthusiasm. I dug out all their childrens cookery books and sat looking at the pile, utterly baffled, trying to figure out how to put together a meaningful, structured course. I didn’t want to just teach them “this is how to cook pasta”, I want them to be able to understand the food science and nutrition behind it – appropriate for their age group of course – and be able to put together a balanced meal so that they can take care of themselves when they are old enough. Then I realised that some clever person somewhere might have already done all this, and so I typed I want to teach my children to cook into Google, and lo and behold: came up.

I’ve bought the kids cooking lessons package and set it all up. It looks brilliant, and perfect for gradually introducing techniques, science, nutrition from age 3 right up to age 18. We started at the weekend and are racing through the age 3-6 lessons. We enjoyed some fun snacks in front of the opening matches of the Six Nations on Saturday, and on Sunday, C prepared most of the vegetables for dinner. Result !

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