For once, not a half-boiled idea

It’s only taken them God knows how long, but finally we have what appears to be a decent education initiative: putting cookery classes on the school curriculum.

I would have loved to have cookery classes at school. I remember at primary school cooking a delicious treacle tart I’ve never been able to replicate since, as soon after that I changed schools and didn’t pick up so much as a frying pan in anger or otherwise until aged 20 at university where, on my first night in halls of residence, I attempted to fry a cheese and pickle sandwich.

Needless to say my culinary skills have picked up a bit since then, but it’s all self-taught and I would have loved to at least have a basic understanding of what I was doing when I actually started attempting something a little more complex than pasta twirls and pesto.

There’s the obvious caveats here: please God don’t drone on for hours about the technology and science behind cooking. Fascinating as I find Heston Blumenthal, he’s not somebody I can watch a lot of. Different dietary needs also need to be thought through.

Cooking can be great fun and almost approaches art, of sort. It’s got a great mixture of practicality and creativity and if you’ve got a good teacher (as with any subject) there’s no limits to what an inspired young cook could achieve.

A couple of things I’d like to see on any food course: learning a bit as to where the food comes from. This is something which can really enhance your understanding of what you’re eating. Ok, so perhaps I’m a little bit too interested in the way different cheeses are made, but you get the idea. I’d also like to see a bit on balancing flavours. It’s not a difficult thing to achieve, if you know what you’re doing.

As for recipes, I’d try and teach something simple like spag bol. That said, even grilling salmon or whipping up a quick stuffed mushroom aren’t exactly difficult.

There’s definitely some fun to be had with exams though. Get them to go out and shoot a couple of wood pigeons or strangle a chicken for exam number one. For part two, put them in the F Word kitchen with Gordon Ramsey giving it both barrels, before finally giving them a couple of hours to put together a three-course gourmet diner, with examiners John Torode and Greg Wallace from Masterchef to shout enthusiastically at their creations before retiring to the sofa to give them a grade.

Hell, somebody could even make a TV programme out of it.


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January 2008
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Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com

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