Cooking – a life lesson

Cooking – a life lesson

Working class Tory MP Lee Anderson caused a storm after saying that many people who use foodbanks can’t budget or cook properly.

At the foodbank he works at in his Ashfield constituency, those seeking help have to sign up to budgeting and cookery lessons.

The cost-of-living crisis has focused attention on these issues and for all the opprobrium thrown at Mr Anderson by his political opponents, many have welcomed his intervention as common sense.

Cooking is already part of the National Curriculum and children in Key Stage 3 are taught to prepare a range of meals.

It is not a huge part of the curriculum, but it does have some emphasis.

Now it comes under the auspices of Design and Technology and is often called ‘food tech’.

In the past it was taught as ‘Home Economics’ and in my experience had a more significant place in the timetable.

However, given the pressure on resources, I’m fairly convinced that schools are doing their best to teach children to ‘cook from scratch’ healthy and nutritious meals.

But the sheer availability of ‘ready meals’ – which are more expensive – presents a huge temptation for some parents not to bother cooking.

In good times this does not present a problem but now everything is more expensive it is an issue – especially if cooking skills have been lost over the years.

Perhaps we might view this crisis as an opportunity to wean ourselves from ready meals, which often contain hidden fats and sugars, and to re-connect with home cooking?

We could also reduce the number of times we order takeaway deliveries, which are a convenient and quick option, but are unhealthy and help feed the nation’s obesity crisis.

For the sake of our own health and that of the nation’s, we do need to consider the issue of healthy and nutritious eating.

It takes time and a certain level of ability to ‘cook from scratch’, but these are skills worth having.

They teach us to value good quality food and where it has emanated from, rather than just seeing it as a fuel source for our bodies.

Meals that are cooked at home for the family also mean that the family is likely to sit down and eat it together rather than eating at different times.

When one generation doesn’t learn how to cook, they can’t pass it on to the next generation and problems are compounded.

Cooking should be a life skill and viewed as a cheaper, healthier and more satisfying alternative than any of the others.

If schools don’t have the time or facilities, and parents don’t know how, then Lee Anderson’s training via his foodbank ought to be welcomed.

He also offers budgeting advice for families, and this is crucial. Many people are simply not taught how to budget and a few, small tips and pieces of advice can go a long way.