Many people of a certain age remember a Curriculum in cooking that provided them with the skills they needed for their adult lives. Becoming a home cook was par for the course and learning basic cooking skills was a must to keep a household running and tummies well fed. However there have been changing roles of the Food Technology Teacher as well as what is considered more important – learning to cook and care for a family or the basics of food preparation to carry into a students’ adult life.
The Thatcher Years
Many teachers and certainly students are not aware that it was during the Thatcher years that the education ministry changed the goals of what pupils would require. It was clear that it was not cooks who were able to run a home and feed their husband and kids that were needed, but instead technologists to man the food factories of the nation. These technologists would learn the theory behind making mass frozen foods such as pizza as opposed to cooking a meal for the family.
That led to a generation of kids who were raised by parents who were raised by parents who used the freezer and cooker in one easy step as opposed to creating healthy home cooked meals. Those were the kids of Jamie’s School Dinners that looked puzzled on the telly when shown a raw carrot. It was clear many families were ill prepared to buy even the most basic veggies from the local market let alone prepare it.
Once again it looks like food technology is taking the older approach with more of a focus to teach kids how to apply their knowledge of nutrition, food hygiene and safety and use them as they would in everyday life. The importance of learning how to handle and prepare food is basic life skills and allows kids to learn not for their families but for them selves. These basics include designing and making food products as well as how to prepare meals and specific dishes that are affordable and easy to make. Food technology looks at the basic principles to allow children to be prepared to make dinner properly be it for their own meals or those of the entire family.
It is important that both students and teachers recognise the importance of knowing how to eat a balanced diet, prepare meals and use safe food preparation methods in order to stay healthy. It is all certainly food for thought.