Teaching practical skills - Cook your way to healthier life

IT is an irony of our time that just as food has assumed five-star celebrity status in the world of entertainment, far too many people view the prospect of turning a slipper of bacon, and a head of Savoy cabbage, into a dinner much as the Spartans viewed the Persian armies advancing on the Pass of Thermopylae in 480BC.

Teaching practical skills - Cook your way to healthier life

The Spartans resisted unequal odds, but those odds pale into insignificance compared to the cultural battle needed to convince people of the value of preparing real, nutritious — and good-value — food for children, especially those susceptible to obesity.

Chef Nevin Maguire has joined the fray and suggested that cooking lessons be mandatory for secondary school pupils. He argues that cooking should be just one of the practical life skills in school curriculums. It is hard to disagree, even in a period of growing time-poverty.

Napoleon’s dictum — or Frederick the Great’s of Prussia, or Claudius Galen’s, chief physician to the Roman army, if you prefer — that an army ‘marches on its stomach’ seems applicable to society in general, too.

A person with a poor diet can hardly live a full life; a child with a poor diet hardly faces the world on the best footing, either. It is, of course, easier to phone the takeaway or pop some unidentifiable something or other into the microwave, but that foolishly concedes one of the great health-giving, enriching human experiences.

It’s really easy: first, cover the bacon with water...

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