Why is important to learn to cook?
My grandfather was a VIP chef in the army, he cooked for people like Churchill, Eisenhower, Montgomery as well as George VI during the war. Nobody in the street where my grandparents went hungry, as both had lived through The General Strike of 1926 where both knew hunger. My grandfather was able to conjure up something to put a hot meal in to those who needed from the slightest of scrapes during rationing. A lifesaving skill.
As a family, we have all grown up learning to cook. As soon as we were able to stand safely in the kitchen chair, we were cooking. Boys and girls alike were expected to cook and not just fairy cakes and biscuits, everyone learnt how to cook healthy inexpensive family meals as well as how to preserve produce from the kitchen garden.
I have always cooked as long as I can remember. When I took my GCSE (then they were called ‘O’ Levels) the subject was called Domestic Science and we had to learn about nutrition and how to prepare whole balanced meals. The whole aim of this was to produce mainly mothers who could cook.
I remember the day of the exam, I was given an envelope with two dishes to prepare. Everyone else had to make celebratory or family meals on a theme. My two dishes were for people staying on a hospital wing. The first dish I had to cook was for somebody who had had a serious bout of gastroenteritis – a meal of tripe and mash potatoes. Tripe comes from a cow stomach, it is pretty gross to cook and even more unpleasant to eat. The second meal I had to cook was for a nursing mother – a meal of junket. Junket is sweetened milk curds. Basically, two white dishes, no colour and no added flavour but a degree of skill to make both perfectly.
Nowadays, the subject is called Food Tech and my daughter was asked to design the box for the pizza but not cook the pizza itself. When I asked about this, I was told that this GCSE qualification is to help you go to work in a food production line (in a factory), where you would be assembling the dish and not actually cooking it.
I am not sure about either aims; only mothers who can cook or people to assemble food. I think being able to cook, to know what you are cooking and how this will keep you healthy is a far better aim. Therefore, now I am a homeschooling teacher the advantage is that you chose what you learn to cook and the reason why.
Homeschooling Cookery Club
We started the Homeschool Garden Club at Orchard Training during Lockdown to add to our learning opportunities. As the fruit and vegetables started being ready for harvest, we started needing recipes to make best use of the food we had grown. This has then lead directly to launching the Homeschooling Cookery Club, I have devised a recipe for every week we are learning, a different dish for every year group. These will be tied in to national, international and religious days of celebration, tied in to the harvests coming in from our study buddies who are in the Garden Club and tied in to our health curriculum of learning.
Over the course of the year, there will be three types of recipes healthy, treats and 50/50 foods. There will be more healthy recipes and less treats and a few 50/50 recipes. These will need to be kept in your evidence folder under Design and Technology to show the Education Welfare Officer. Alternatively, you can make up your own cookery folder and by the end of the year you will have a fabulous individual cookery book of your very own.
Where you see the green tree symbol, you will know that this is a Healthy Recipe. The healthy recipes will be there to help you cook nutritious food for your family, prepare nourishing meals ahead of time so you can have an easy meal already prepared in the freeze for those busy days. As young learners, you don’t need to focus too much on counting the calories which is why the information sheet that comes with the recipe is all about the ingredients and where appropriate the benefits of eating it.
Where you see the pink tree symbol, you will know that this is a Treat Recipe. Whilst we make every effort to make the treat as healthy as possible we will be recommending that you should try to limit your treat eating. Occasionally, is good! Every day - is not so good!
Where you see the red tree symbol, you will know that this is a 50/50 Recipe. This is a recipe made up of approximately 50% sugar and 50% fat. Often celebratory foods like cakes, pavlova and ice cream are 50/50 foods. Our brains love these foods - BUT they are really not good for our bodies. We recommend that you only make this once a year – this is a mega treat food. Make it, eat it, enjoy it but do restrict the amount eaten and how often you make it.
You can grade the recipe too by colouring in the apples at the end of the recipe.
Any recipe with only one or two apples coloured in will be ones you didn’t like so much so don’t cook them again. Any recipe with four or five apples coloured in are going to be the ones you will continue to cook. Once you have made the recipe once and you like it - you can then adapt it for yourself, using different ingredients. If you do adapt the recipe write this up in your evidence diary, re-write the recipe out, noting where you made the changes and keep it with the original in your recipe folder. Don’t forget to take photographs and add them, too!
Exercise For Free
Exercise For Free
Links Between the Cookery Club and Being a Diabetes Community Champion
What is a Diabetes Community Champion?
Community Champions educate and raise awareness of diabetes and Diabetes UK by organising stalls, talks, presentations and healthy living days at community centres, health fairs and local festivals. As a Community Champion, I raise awareness by talking about diabetes in the Cookery Club and in the Health and Wellbeing Club.
We now have a number of Type 1 learners homeschooling with us, because managing in school had become problematic. We are also aware that a small number of our families have diabetes. Our aim is to educate the next generation of learners so they are fully aware and informed about the condition and accordingly be inclusive of their Study Buddies; able to prepare and cook food that will support the management of the condition within the family setting, to help prevent Type 2 developing later on for themselves and able to take action in order to reverse pre-diabetes wherever possible.
If You Would Like to Join the Community Champions
You are passionate to spread the word about diabetes.
You have strong ties within your local community.
You are committed to improve the health and wellbeing of your community.
You are able to attend a 2-day training session organised in your local area.
If you are interested in applying, please email and tell Diabetes UK a bit more about yourself and the community you want to help.
Link Between All Three Clubs
Working outside and in the garden is recognised now as a great link to good mental health. Growing your own food helps you understand where your food comes from and the choices you have. There is a lot of knowledge to learn about environments, pollinators and plants. Whilst all that gardening counts as part the movement and exercise you need to do each day. Potting around growing things also counts as part of your homeschool education so don't forget to record this in you evidence diary.
Knowing how to prepare and cook healthy food is a life long skill and knowledge and therefore a fantastic reason for joining the Cooker Club. Eating the food is the second best reason ever. Knowing about food and how to cook helps you lose and maintain your weight but showing you ways to reduce salt, sugar and fat. You will be able to make better choice when eating out by spotting those 50/50 foods and balancing out how many you eat never the course of the week.
Once you know how to knock a great tasty snack quicker than it would to go and fetch the junk food - you will save money your hard earned pocket money. Planning menus, understanding how to make the best purchases in the shop counts as money management another area of learning - just whilst learning how to grown some foods and shopping seasonally also counts as part of your homeschooling education, so don't forget to record this in you evidence diary.
Health and Wellbeing Club
Covers both your mental wellbeing but also your physical health. Knowing what to eat, when to eat and the all important why to eat this and not eat that, contributes to you weight, healthy, sleep, mobility and mood. The games you play in the garden and the work you do in the garden all goes towards your movement for the day.
You can do all three and reap the benefits from all three as they touch on the biology, P.E., PSHE and Design and Technology curriculums. All this without really trying too hard!