Eating is the most basic human need. But these days we most certainly don’t eat to survive, we eat because we enjoy it, a meal is a wonderful way to get together with family and friends. But more and more often people turn to cheap fast food, they don’t know how to cook, they can’t even recognize vegetables!
Some time ago I heard about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, but never quite payed attention to it. I eat fairly healthy food, I cook, I don’t go to restaurants too much and I most certainly don’t eat in fast-food chains (!!!) I just stumbled upon a TED talk from Jamie Oliver and found out that his message is much more profound than I thought, he really went to the bottom of the problem. Why are people eating out (unhealthy food!!) all the time? Well, because they can’t cook, nobody thought them how to do it.
It used to be the case that growing up you would see your mum cook, you would help her out, and eventually you would know how to do things. There are so many things that I never cooked before but when I try, they turn out well. Why? Just because I saw my mom making them many times and therefore I kind of know what to do! But things changed, these days families are made of two working parents and cooking is one more task people seem to gladly let go in favor of frozen food, pizza delivery, or cheap fast food.
We eat what we want and we don’t care, we are more or less healthy and that is fine, but what about the next generation? Kids don’t even know the name of vegetables, how are they supposed to know how to prepare them? Many times in the US when I got to the cashier at the supermarket with my bags of vegetables she had to ask me what the things were so she could locate their price. Really??? And I have to admit my knowledge on vegetables is quite small too, nobody thought me, things get lost from one generation to the next. What will the kids of the current generation know about food and vegetables, about healthy eating habits? And at the end of the game, it’s their health that goes down the drain, let aside the pleasure of eating good food.
So who should teach our kids? Are the parents to blame? I honestly don’t think so. Parents do their best, they work and take care of the house and their children. What is the place where kids are thought things? School! That’s right, how comes there are math and English and history and science classes and even physical education, but there are no food/cooking classes? Eating is a basic need in life, a basic need, something you can’t leave without, so how comes it is not included in school classes. We teach kids to count, shouldn’t we teach them to cook their own food? How do they know where food comes from? To them it magically appears at the supermarket, we should teach them about flour, meat and everything else.
If kids are thought in schools the basics of food and food preparation, and just a few recipes, they will be able to cook for themselves when they leave for college and they will bring their knowledge into their family.
How about having a small herbs and maybe even vegetable garden in schools? I can bet the kids would love to eat a tomato when they gave it water and saw it sprout, plus you can teach them about local and organic food, right there.
You could have a small vegetable garden at home too! I am going to start mine as soon as the season will allow it. For now I am happy to see that the tiny pine tree I bought to decorate the house for Christmas is sprouting and growing quickly :)