Following this week’s recent discussions in the news on the lovely Ruth Bond (chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes) talking about schools having a duty to teach children to cook in preparation for their adult life, it got a new passion and project of mine racing through my mind.
A few months ago I was in fact having this very same conversation with a work colleague, who’s son was off to school that day to learn how to cook.... wait for it.... a baked potato.
He was baking his potato and bringing it home to his dad for dinner that night.
Now, as lovely as this sounds, bless his heart, it’s not what I remember learning to make or bake when I was at school, and at nearly 30, that wasn’t too many moons ago, so it’s scary that children lately are just being taught how to bung a potato in the oven, as there is so much more they can and should learn, I personally believe - Argue with me should you wish!
I am more than aware that it will be down to the school’s curriculum, budgets and staffing as to what and how they teach in their cooking sessions, but I think it’s important that kids are learning a little more, especially with the food culture that we are now living in.
Recently, I have started offering baking lessons in my students’ homes, to help them to get to grips with their own (or my) equipment and their own kitchen environments and it’s worked wonders in helping their confidence in baking simple baked goods that they didn’t believe they could make until I showed them how. This is great news, but what worries me is that these grown adults are scared to bake, some with their own children and they are wanting to learn now, so that they can teach their children to cook and bake should they wish.
This is just fantastic and I am glad to be able to help, if even slightly in doing this in their own relaxed & familiar home environment.
Many parents I know also want to be able to bake their own birthday and celebration cakes and treats for their children, but feel scared or not confident enough to do this and again, it’s so simple, you sometimes just need a reassuring hand to show you the basics to get you started. This is something else that I believe this year’s baking lessons with The Secluded Tea Party are going to be able to help with. That is a very exciting thought for me personally, as it’s going to be making memorable birthday celebrations all over the country!
If the schools are not going to be able to help kids to learn the basics, I believe that their parents should be able to if they want to and this is where my baking lessons may well help to do just this.
I am aware that it’s not just cooking skills that kids are going off to Uni and beyond without, it’s basic domestic skills too sometimes, from what I have been told recently, again by a friend, their son had to call her up to find out how to change the bed sheets late one night. This is where I love the fact that my friend, William Hanson comes in handy with his Modern Manners School, not only teaching people modern manner and etiquette, but also essential life and domestic skills needed in everyday life.
My own parents, although they taught us these skills and they prepared meals for us, even if we did moan and groan at their casseroles and steak & kidney pies, they cooked for us. I remember the sweet pink piggy faced cupcakes my mum used to make with me and my sister and the butterfly cakes we made allowing us to lick the bowl afterwards. These memories will stay with me forever and they have helped me to want to bake again later in my life, queue the start of The Secluded Tea Party ; )
I'm not saying that all schools and parents are lacking on baking and cooking skills, far from it, I think the love of food in the UK has had a huge impact on our skills as a nation with that thanks to papers, magazines, books and TV shows such as "The Great British Bake Off" contributing towards our love of this subject.
In fact, a lovely lady I know in Cambridgeshire is a fantastic cake maker and her young daughters (8 and 10 years of age) are avid followers of BBC's "Masterchef" and often cook their parents dinner including homemade Chicken Kiev and Lamb Tagine. I'm more than impressed and am tempted to kidnap them for my own home hehe ; )
Ruth Bond also mentioned in the news that we are throwing out over 15 million tonnes of food waste every year in the UK and again, this is very scary indeed. Especially when there are organisations such as Food Cycle in the UK that will take food waste and turn it into meals for people who will benefit from it. It’s also, on the other side of that, a great way to offer your cooking skills as a volunteer and can be a great way to practice this or gain tips from other cooks or volunteers at your local Food Cycle Hub.
This topic is obviously worrying (Maybe worrying is a strong word here, but...) more people than just myself, so I am glad to be starting out on a new baking venture to help this lack of confidence and teaching, if even marginally.
What are your kids learning to bake/cook in their schools?
Could you use a baking lesson with The Secluded Tea Party,
or know somebody who might like to book one?
Why not leave a comment below or
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat
& more information on our new baking lessons in
your own home.
Miss Sue Flay