What Should Young Adults Cook?

Why is it that TV chefs regularly want to interfere in the direction of education in the UK. We have had Jamie Oliver trying to change school meals, training canteen cooks and telling parents what to put in their kids packed lunches and now we have Mary Berry telling schools what they should be teaching. We wouldn't expect Mr Mitchell, the Headteacher in the TV documentary 'Educating Yorkshire' to be telling Jamie how to cook a 10 minute meal or Mrs Berry how to make the best treacle pudding! These cooks may have good intensions, but why don't they leave education to teachers!

It seems that Mary Berry, the co host with Paul Hollywood of the highly successful 'The Great British Bake Off', has no patience when it comes to young adults not being able to cook. But what about the rest of the adult population, Mary?

The 78 year old star who has written more than 70 cook books, believes that all children should learn to cook a total of 10 proper meals while they are at school. According to Mary, teachers should ''blow the science of it'' and go back to showing young people ''what's good for them, how to buy it and how to make a few dishes that they enjoy and don't cost too much''. Speaking at the recent Cheltenham Literature Festival, Berry was asked about the status of cookery teaching today, which tends to take the form of food science and technology, with lessons on nutrition and designing food packaging. She responded that she hoped cooking would come back into schools, but not in the form that it has been lately. Mary is reported as saying, ''It should be that every child when they leave school can do ten meals, because when they leave home they've got to be able to eat healthily'' (Daily Telegraph)

We would probably all agree, but whether it is the duty of schools to provide this as part of a child's education is debatable. What about parents having a responsibility for teaching their youngsters how to cook? If, of course, they can cook themselves and it appears that so few adults these days can use nothing more than  the microwave. I hope I am wrong, but trips to the supermarket confirm my view. 

Headteachers would say that their schools are no longer equipped to provide cooking facilities. Home economics classrooms of ten or so domestic cookers, sinks and utensils have long been replaced by computers and software packages. As for primary schools, they may have one ot two old cookers in a corridor somewhere, but teachers I know, have to use their school canteen's industrial stoves, if they want to offer their kids any cooking experience. You seem out of touch, Mary Berry!

A very recent poll of its readers, by the biggest independent regional newspaper in the UK, asked whether children should be taught more cookery at school. The result was overwhelming, with 88% of voters saying 'Yes'. (Express & Star)

So, taking Mary Berry's suggestion at face value, what 10 proper meals should we teach our young adults to cook before they leave school? Give it some thought - I have, and these are my suggestions, Mary!
  1. Cheese and Potato Pie
  2. A Pasta Dish - pasta bake or spaghetti bolognese
  3. Fish Cakes
  4. A Basic Homemade Soup - vegetable or tomato
  5. Shepherds Pie
  6. Chilli Con Carne with Boiled Rice
  7. A Stir Fry Dish - beef or chicken
  8. A Curry Dish  - chicken or vegetable
  9. A Casserole - beef or pork
  10. Roast Chicken with Vegetables


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