Inspire a Generation

My blog yesterday about why I reckon we don’t need food in schools drew much comment across the globe about why we should not have food in schools.  My methodology is simple.
  1. Cooking for cookings sake teaches children how to cook one dish.
  2. Teaching ‘transferable cooking skills’ as opposed to recipes teaches children more, for example teaching cooking methods and techniques rather than just recipes, eg, rubbing in, chopping will teach the child to make a dish like a crumble, and then those skills can also teach how to make a soup, bread, pasta, pastry etc.
I’m always classed as a chef in my work.  It does annoy me when my profession is as a Home Economist.  Home Economics is the study of the family, and how factors that affect the family work in the areas of food, clothing, shelter, finance and energy.  This provides the student with valuable life
skills.  Chefs teach students recipes, they are not academic generally as a profession and they teach people how to cook (and may I add to a fantastic level), but not every student wants to be a chef, however they are then missing out on these “life skills” I talk about.
A nation in debt, living on credit.  Energy wastage, food wastage, nutrition, food production, inability to budget finances – these are all topics taught in Home Economics.  I like to see the family as a “consumer buying unit” – be that a nuclear family of 4, a one parent family, a same sex family or indeed a multi-cultural family.  Or like me, living with a friend.  Each consumer is a household.  Family means many things and not just mum, dad and kids.  What it does mean in home economics is a group of consumers all living together.
In a summer of the London 2012 Olympics, it’s a time where our legacy is to inspire a generation.  Please, lets look at this sensibly, please comment on my blog so I can work with other global Home Economics professionals to help inspire a global generation of children that are ready for life.
Remove the idea of the home economics teacher as the stitcher and sewer, the cook and the domestic class.  Nigella Lawson and Martha Stewart have turned this into global media careers.  A while back I wrote about the disconnect between society and celebrity chefs  – I’m talking about the home, what happens when a child leaves for university to a flat – what knowledge do they learn from chefs about good healthy and wise food choices?
Remember, it’s not about cooking, it’s about an academic subject that prepares one for life and dovetails into every other academic discipline.

2 thoughts on “Inspire a Generation

  1. When you blogged about food in schools using negative tones everyone picked up on your message in positive ways. However, isn’t it funny that when you provide a solution to inspiring a generation aka Home Economics education – you get no reply or comments! James, this is heartbreaking for me to see. I totally understand where you are coming from – a simple mantra: Home Economics = real life skills. I understand the importance of Home Economics and most other Home Economists do too. We need the voices of Mum, Dad and students to stand up and fight for Home Economics too. The United Nations and governments around the world are screaming for life skills education. Why can’t they see that we have thousands of educators already on the front line? We need to collectively raise our voices! For me, through research in the field, home economics is one of the most inspirational subjects I know and very effective for developing ‘whole’, skilled, compassionate and thinking people. It’s not what we teach – it is the Home Economics unique way of teaching it that makes all the difference. James – keep up the good work! Thank you for having voice but more importantly – thank you for using it!

  2. Pingback: Down at the bottom of the garden | James McIntosh's Whisk Weblog

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