Friday, October 05, 2007

Today has been a remarkably civilised day. The kids have been feeding their faces (a lot of grazing) and their brains (a lot of reading) all day.

Dani went off to work and we had a quiet morning – getting up slowly and pottering. Pearlie is deeply engrossed in another My Story book – set in a Victorian workhouse. Leo is ploughing through several Horrid Henry and Geronimo Stilton books each day at the moment. I also read a bit of The Lost Barkscrolls to Leo.

After lunch we got the bus over to a peaceful branch library that also has a toy library. I wandered around stocking up on all sorts of stuff – a Doctor Who jigsaw, an A to Z animals board game, some poetry, a book of local ghost stories, and one of those harrowing life story books that seem to be everywhere these days. I picked that up because the author was born in the same month and year as me. Such has been the peace and calm around here that I have finished it already!

The kids sat in the library reading for an hour or so and then we went off to pick up a bit of shopping. We got home using two buses and P helped me with the shopping bags as I’d ended up somewhat overburdened.

This evening has been Cluedo for Dani and the kids and I’ve been to the adult swimming session at out local pool. The adult swim session is silent and purposeful – lovely. I swam for half an hour and got home in time for bedtime stories.

I’ve been pondering food a bit today – after reading about how kids are rejecting the Jamie Oliver menus in droves and hearing an item on Radio Four about the death of home economics in schools. I can’t say I ever learned anything useful in the way of cookery at school. I did have some home ec lessons. All I can remember is that there were two home ec teachers – who looked like Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. Oh, and they got us to make quiche using flan rings instead of dishes and I had a little hole in my pastry – out of which all the egg stuff escaped and baked onto the tray…

I learned all the basics of cooking from my mum – like a lot of other people, I guess. A school set up was useless for cooking – all very slow and laborious while we watched a display, fiddled about following instructions and then took wizened food home in a Tupperware box. At home I learned by doing – pastry, cakes, roast spuds, white sauce – basic stuff. Never did learn how to cook meat, which made adopting a veggie lifestyle easy later on. When I first left home I wasn’t a veggie but lived a veggie diet by default – with occasional tins of tuna and drunken hot dogs from the dodgy van!

My own kids (P more than L) really like food to be simple. I don’t understand why people think that healthy food for kids has to be complicated – like the Jamie Oliver meals. I suspect that stuff like baked spuds and sandwiches would be quite popular and easy to make healthy and varied. My own kids happily eat five or more fruits and veggies a day (usually!) – but they often eat them as separate things – apples, bananas, oranges, peppers, cucumber, carrots, peas, green beans, broccoli, plums – loads of stuff but all separate. Leo likes a sauce (he ate one tonight with courgettes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, black eye beans and green pepper) but Pearlie won’t touch such stuff. She ate the brown rice we were having with peas instead of the sauce– and a side order of grated cheese. Because her meals are less filling than ours (because there are often elements she doesn’t like) she snacks loads too. Tonight she made herself a four decker rice cake and cream cheese sandwich and a yogurt, which she ate before bed. Leo just snacks loads as well as big meals!

I do think that there seems to be a problem with kids and eating in this country. But I wonder if the obesity levels aren’t more affected by the fact that kids aren’t walking and playing out regularly than their diets. Our kids are really skinny ones, which I guess is partly genetic (we were both skinny kids – not so skinny now!) but they do get loads of exercise just because we don’t have a car. Probably why I don’t worry that P has eaten two iced doughnuts today! Erm , not sure if that’s how it works…


Lucy said...

I made coleslaw in home economics, not really very useful as I don't eat the stuff.

Sarah said...

Now, see, as usual I'm topsy turvy here - I learned *loads* in Home Economics at school.

My mum died when I was 11 and although I did have a stepmum later on who would have taught me stuff, I didn't want to learn it from her thanks very much.

Then again we had particularly strange home economics lessons where the teacher actually lived not far from the school, there werre only a few of us doing it, and we de-camped to her house for lessons! I remember loads of it, probably because it happened like that (ie outside of school) and was a lot of fun. Actually I remember the walking to and fro almost as much as the actual lessons but that's another story ...

Anna moans that she doesn't have enough time to learn cooking etc., and it is true - she asks Joe (the home educated one) how to use the oven and he is by far the most skilled chef out of my three!!

I've digressed. I suppose my point was that some kids need HE lessons, however basic, if their home situations aren't conducive to learning that sort of thing, for whatever reason.

grit said...

unfortunately the goal of our school cookery lessons seemed to be to separate us from our home cooking routines and environments as much as possible - but one parent of a girl in my class was a professional chef who ran a restaurant; he was continuously complaining at the school provision, much to our great delight.

Lucy said...

I also remember making flan twice with lots of sugar and eggs... and eggs in cream sauce - that's about it. The cheese always smelled very strange at school, I'm sure it was off! We never made anything healthy with fruit and veg... it was all a bit farcical really. Taught myself to cook once I lived away from home. Kids do like it now and are getting fairly good at it too :)

Wobblymoo said...

Both my boys are very slow eaters and could never get enough in in the 20 minutes they had at school, they both refuse cooked veg and Nathan wont eat any sauce at all so they get a plateful of raw veg but always eat it, it doesn't have to be difficult getting them eat healthily

Nic said...

I learnt *nothing* about cooking from my mum - pretty ironic as she owned restuarants, which I also worked in, throughout my childhood. I did learn lots about bulk cooking from working with her staff though.
We did have a very good Home Ed teacher at my (all girls) school - very old fashioned, taught us skills such as ironing a shirt, making a 'good' cup of tea and genuine Home Economics such as working out volumes of food per head and costing it too. She was more about baking than cooking when it came to food though, which is probably why my baking is better than my cooking. She also tried to teach us instinct in cooking, tasting at each stage and not totally relying on scales and oven temps and kitchen timers but to develop instinct about cooking too.

Most of my actual cooking food which is tasty and about enjoying the food rather than simply refueling is learnt from Ady though, who introduced me to things like herbs, spices and enjoying the process of cooking a meal, which I now do.

I say all this of course, and my own children are not the greatest eaters and I'm not the best provider of a wide array of food for them either, but we're getting there.

Allie said...

Ah well, there you go. I guess some people do get something out of home ec lessons then.

I went through a real Madhur Jaffrey phase as a young adult and D and I were always following recipes carefully - not something I bother with much now. MJ recipes were really nerve wracking "stir for thirty second and then add the other six spices that you have prepared..."

As for shirt ironing - I was taught by my mum who had been taught by her aunt who worked in a laundry in the 1920s. That has proved useful as I like shirts.

HelenHaricot said...

i got to do latin rather than HE at school my mum didn't teach me, as i was doing homework, practice etc so... I learnt when I wet to uni. now will try mst things.
and the day did sound fab. I remember very peaceful days at home with mum and me with noses in books! SB is a good noser in booker too.