London: Every 11-year-old boy and girl in England will now be entitled to a free recipe book as England’s 11-year-olds are to take up their wooden spoons, tie aprons and come to the rescue of the English dinner table, too often these days heralded by the ping of the microwave tackling the ready meal.
Any household without an 11-year-old should borrow one immediately to benefit from recipes for roast chicken, lamb rogan josh, mushroom risotto and summer pudding. Every boy and girl in England is entitled to a free cookery book containing the 32 recipes voted for by the public as “real meals” — fresh ingredients, proper cooking and not a tin of onions or a plastic bag of frozen breadcrumbs in sight.
“Too many people just accept they cannot cook or simply do not have time for it,” the schools secretary, Ed Balls, said on Thursday. “We’ve lost touch with making basic dishes from scratch, even though there has never been a wider range of food in our shops. Schools are only part of the solution — at the end of the day parents bring up children, not teachers.”
The Real Meals booklet comes with a foreword by the celebrity chef Phil Vickery, who says: “Cooking is a skill and often it is not learned at an early enough age. Once you can cook the basics, you will have the best survival tool in the box to take you into adult life.”
The recipe book comes in advance of the introduction of compulsory cooking lessons for all 11- to 14-year-olds by 2011. The government also announced that £151 million would be spent on “food technology areas” in schools.
When the introduction of compulsory cooking was announced, teachers’ representatives warned that one in seven schools would be unable to comply, since they had neither the space, the equipment nor the staff qualified to teach even basic cookery skills. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2008