Food, Glorious Food

Food, glorious food is still on the agenda and never more so than in my household. Fast food is the scourge of today’s society and in particular our children.

Whose responsibility is it to nurture and educate the young if not the parents, who must take a lion share of the blame for our poor diets. I look around and see a story in one tabloid papers claiming that the Burger chain Wendy’s can get you through their Drive-Thru in under 130 seconds, presumably it will take a little longer to consume the product but I do wonder.

Is that we are heading, a fast lane to consumption in nearly everything we do these days: our news is delivered in short segments, our politicians speak in sound bites and our food is getting faster and faster.

But the schools are also culpable: and here there is no distinguishing between class and society as fee paying schools are equally poor in their education of our children. I was horrified to discover that a fee paying school attended by a couple of my daughter’s friends are actually being served spaghetti hoops!

This is a school where the fees are in the region of £14k and they are – unless they are using traditional Sicilian Anellini – opening a tin can of processed mush. I’m sorry, but if that was my child attending that school I would down to the school’s kitchen with clever in hand looking for the…I was going to say cook, but that would be crediting the person in charge of the school kitchen way too much. Its an outrage.

What’s worse, and this is not meant as a sexist remark but just a reality: the school in question is an all girls school and they don’t even study home economics…and before anyone jumps out screaming ‘male chauvinist’ lets just remember who it is that ’usually’ stays at home looking after the children. I’m a little different as I am the one who works from home and does all the shopping, cooking etc and just as well, as the mother of my daughter can barely cook an egg!

There’s more to home economics than just cooking. It should include, food hygiene, animal welfare, husbandry or at the very least where our food comes from. Children are so unfamiliar around food it beggars belief sometimes. They have no idea about how a burger is made, from which animal or the difference between one cut and another never mind which animal its from.

Whatever happened to jamie Oliver’s school dinners? It was noble in its outlook but it never got proper funding or thought through into the curriculum. Meal times are so important to the fabric of family and life and beyond.

Sitting around the table teaches children not only how to eat, but social skills, to interact with other people and generally they learn through osmosis, listening to the parents or friends discussing everything from politics to sport around the dinner table. This cannot be achieved if all you do is sit on the sofa with a pizza box on your lap or in the car going through a fast food Drive-Thru chain.

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