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Should Cooking Classes Be Required

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I think this is something a parent should be teaching and from an early age. You can not expect the school system to teach you child every basic skill they need to get on in the world. But then again that requires faith in humanity which I have given up on long ago.

Grace

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Ditto Grace!

I am sick and tired (and tired and sick?) of everyone's solution to any problem being, "let's make it a requirement in school!" No one appears to be happy with the state of public education today, but people keep turning to it to solve any perceived inadequacy they run across. Just how long do you expect the school day to be? Why not get pregnant and just hand the kid over to the schools and you can pick him up when he graduates????

Sorry for the rant, but this pushes my buttons!

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Ditto Grace!

I am sick and tired (and tired and sick?) of everyone's solution to any problem being, "let's make it a requirement in school!" No one appears to be happy with the state of public education today, but people keep turning to it to solve any perceived inadequacy they run across. Just how long do you expect the school day to be? Why not get pregnant and just hand the kid over to the schools and you can pick him up when he graduates????

Sorry for the rant, but this pushes my buttons!

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SC and Grace kinda mirror my feelings.

Not trying to be insensitive, and I do see why it may be necessary to some, but it should at least be an elective. In other words I'm not against it being taught, I just don't think it should be required, and I think kids should be getting more appropriate lessons in life AT HOME!!!!!

I swear, if the apocalypse occurs, we're gonna have a bunch of dead teenagers if they can't procure and prepare food!

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I swear, if the apocalypse occurs, we're gonna have a bunch of dead teenagers if they can't procure and prepare food!

What?! Get up off the couch?! Put their *gasp* game-boy, x-box or (the horrors) text-phone down?! No way!!!!!!

Not only will they be unable to procure food, they'll be unable to communicate, too. Mute. Hey ... that might be a good thing!

Edited by Heidi n Q

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Oh my good lord, are you serious?

Cooking is not hard. For goodness sakes google it and follow the directions. There is no need to waste more money on teaching something so idiotically simple.

It all comes down to laziness. Fast food is easier. It's not that people don't realize it's not good for them, it's that they don't care.

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Does anyone remember when it was still called Home Economics, and they not only taught you to cook, but how to grocery shop and to manage a household? And yes, it was a required class then, so the whole idea isn't anything new.

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Millie, I disagree. Most recipes "assume" that you know other things.

IE: You're going to make bread. It calls for 3 cups of bread flour. Says nothing else.

Do you:

A) dip your measuring cup into the flour, scoop it out and level it off?

B) dip your measuring cup into the flour, scoop, tap on the counter to level?

C) Mix up flour with spoon (aerate), then spoon flour into measuring cup careful not to pack down?

If you answered A or B, you'd like end up with almost 1 full cup extra of flour and your bread would be very heavy and dry. They don't mention this in recipes. They assume you know. Those are the sorts of things that you have to be taught.

How about hard boiling eggs?

Do you:

A) Take eggs directly from fridge and dump into boiling water?

B) Put eggs in pot with water, let them reach room temp, bring slowly to a boil, then turn off heat and let sit for 7-10 min.

C) Put eggs in pot with tap water, bring to a boil and continue to boil for 10 min?

If you do A, you will likely have several eggs whose shells break.

If you do B, you will have a nicely cooked egg, shell intact, no grey/green ring (oxidation)

If you do C, you will likely have oxidation.

Again, no recipe states this.

If you need butter milk, did you know that you can combine vinegar and regular milk and that will work as a substitute?

How do you make powdered sugar if you don't have any on hand?

I could make several more similar examples. These aren't things they say in a recipe. I'm not sure cooking classes/home ec classes need to be required, but I sure can see the benefits.

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I don't want to sound insulting (because I'm really not trying to be), but have you googled recipes lately? Those are indeed the kinds of things that you would find in the instructions on line. I am by far and away not the best cook out there in terms of remembering recipes/figuring new things out, and even I can make pretty complicated dishes if I follow the directions. Seriously, they even have videos: http://www.foodnetwork.com/30-minute-meals/index.html.

No reason to waste the money teaching kids how to perform basic functions.

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I have a few cook books too, and I find that they often lack a lot of the "mom never taught me this" information. I love deviled eggs, but the first time I made them.... :/ bleck! Would've worked much better if I had just googled it, lol!

I really like the food network ones, and sometimes the Yahoo answers will have some really great, broken down information. It's not hard to find, and the most I ever do is google "Cook salmon", or something like that, and pick which recipe I think sounds the best/easiest :)

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I took home ec 10 years ago. We had to learn to sew a pillow, and we baked cookies. We also carted around an electronic baby and were "married" to a classmate for a week. We also had mock jobs/mock communities with classmates as neighbors, and I even got a mock pink-slip and got fired from my job as a travel agent!! The NERVE!

However, I had a mother who cooked for a family of up to 11 people (we did foster care and sometimes had A LOT of people in the house!) daily. She MADE a breakfast (waffles, or pancakes, or french toast, with bacon or eggs or sausage) lunch, and dinner *daily*. She required my brothers (I had 3 older) to cook one meal a month (almost always was cornbread....yes...JUST cornbread...LOL) and I often assisted her with whatever meal she prepared in the evening. I also learned to can vegetables, make jelly (Oh how I hated picking berries...looved crabapple jelly though!) weed the garden that we grew the veggies in, and all that jazz.

However...if I was attempting to make something on my own...she would always butt-in and take over. I liked to joke that we needed our own cooking show called "Two-Butt Kitchen" because there was only room for two butts in our kitchen, and we always had just a blast creating together.

Now that I am living on my own, I've had to tweak A LOT of my skills because I do not have a stove. I have a microwave, a 896*/ (cat who jumps on my keyboard) a toaster, and a little convection oven. I still have figured out how to make eggs over easy (in the oven!) and can make some wonderful, exotic stuff...but have had to use trial and error in learning how to make something without using a stove top.

For those who truly want to cook/bake/create, they will find a way to do so on their own.

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Not just cooking should be required; tie it in with proper nutrition and other life skills like sewing and laundry and balancing a check book and preparing a budget. Seems like the majority of the kids today have no clue how to do any of the above.

The high school I went to offers a course similar to that called Individual and family studies. We did a little bit of everything. Cooking, sewing, Nutrition, finances, etc. It was a very informative class that I really enjoyed.

The way our school has it set up is aside from your compulsary courses (Math, English, science, etc.) there are groups of electives, (Business courses, social Sciences and humanity courses, technology courses, extra sciences, co-op,and more that I'm sure I'm forgetting) You have to take one course from each group, but because the groups have so many options, there's something for almost anyone. Example. Humanity group includes Parenting, Fasion, Foods, Gerentology and Child developement, Living Spaces and Shelters, Individual and family Studies, Philosophy.

That's just a handful of them. So if you don't want to take a parenting course (Which I personally think should be a complusray course, but that's a whole new debate), take something more hands on, Like Living spaces where you actually get to go and build shelters. Not sure which route you want to follow? Indiviual and family studies is like a samplar of everything.

I feel that everyone needs to learn to cook for themselves. And a lot of people can't learn from their parents because their parents can't cook worth squat either. I'm lucky, my mother is a fantasic cook, and she taught me. I love to cook, but some of my friends? They think it's majik or something that you can make a meal without a can or a box

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and that's my point--to show kids it's not majikal and that it's a lot of fun and something you can take pride in. nothing gets me more out of my comfort zone than having a crowd over to my house for a sitdown dinner, but every time i do i get a nice sense of satisfaction for creating a venue for a fun evening and an (hopefully) edible meal.

i guess what gets to me these days beyond the fact that we're looking at an alarming increase in obesity and diabetes type 2 in young people, is that they all seem to go to places like facebook looking for self-esteem. obviously i'm talking about adolescents here and not adults. how about getting a bunch of young people in a kitchen talking to each other, helping each other out, trying each other's recipes? that's what I call social networking.

i also remember the days of presidential physical fitness standards (or some other name). kinda wish those would come back too but probably unconstitutional ("that's encroaching on my right as an american to be overweight and out of shape!")

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We still had the presidential physical fitness standards when I was in school (which was just a few years ago), and had required gym class everyday up until high school, when we had to take 2-3 classes sometime during our 4 years of high school. :confused0024:

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I am going to speak for my generation and say that most of us are fairly computer and internet savvy. We all know what Google is. If you have a cooking question you just Google it and you will get a bazillion answers and explanations. That is what I do on a regular basis. And for gosh sakes there are 2 networks and a wide variety of programming blocks Devoted to the subject. It takes VARY little effort to learn.

I honestly think the main problem is that people do not know how to shop to make an entire meal that does not come in a ready to go box, just add water. That and they just do not care to put forth the effort. Cooking, like just about everything in life, gets whole lot easier and more natural the more you do it.

See these are skills that are learned at home. If parents do not cook on a regular basis, what is supposed to make the kid want to cook? I also think that many kids are discouraged from experimenting with cooking because

A) Mom/Dad does not want the kitchen getting dirty. (Heaven forbid it be used for that it want meant for)

B ) Family financial situation does not allow for a messed up/ burnt up oopes of a meal. That can be a lot of money wasted Better safe then sorry (or smarter).

Cooking should start right from the beginning. That means making cookies from scratch and not just taking a package out of the fridge and breaking off the squares.

But again this comes down to parents not taking the time with their kids. It is so much more important to work more to have that bigger house/ TV/ Nicer car, then do with out and develop useful members of society.

Grace

PS: Cooking was part of my Home Ec class in middle school. But I could see how this would be an expensive class to fund for most schools on a tight budget. Why not put together a class where the students help in the cafeteria and learn to cook that way? Free labor and they are learning.

Edited by GraceL_QH

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that's a great idea in theory, but i'm not so sure that they're cooking all that healthy in the school cafeteria either. i know that when i went to boarded at college the food wasn't what we all thought of as "fresh" and "nutritious", more like "institutional" meaning mass produced, overcooked less than tasty meals. that's one of the reasons i changed to off-campus living my junior year--i got tired of it and moved in with a gal who was a TERRIFIC cook.

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I think schools need to teach kids "how to learn". This sounds silly, but it's really a good life skill to have. You can't possibly teach children everything they need to know in life in school, that's what parents are supposed to be doing.

But, if you can somehow instill in kids the curiosity about the unknown, and also the desire to always learn more that could go a long way in helping them through life. Combine that with the desire to attempt new things, while understanding that sometimes you don't do it right the first time, but as long as you learn from it, that's ok.

I think there are too many other things that need to be covered in school. Teach them how to read. Teach them how to follow step by step instructions (we did this in chem experiments). With that, they should have the basis to be able to cook. With the internet there is a ton of information on step by step food blogs, videos, recipe sites... really no reason to not learn how if you are interested.

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Parents teaching the kids is all well and good if the parents can cook. My DH's mother is a terrible cook. He learned to cook at school. Was the only place for him to learn...

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Cooking is such a joy. My Mom taught me how to cook, I have taught my kids to cook. As a parent, I have always considered it part of parenting responsibility to ensure that my kids know about nutrition, healthy eating and how to make food creatively and in a healthy way. We forego fast food and eating out is quite expensive here. My kids can make anything and playing "Masterchef" is part of our normal kitchen fun. My 12 year old son made sushi over the weekend and we are getting ready to enjoy the four layer chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese icing that he made for tonights party! We are writing another cookbook together so that they continue to have all the recipes they love and cherish.

I know there are lots of young people who don't know how to cook. We had Home Economics when I was in school way back when and my kids have enjoyed the cooking classes they have taken through their school even though they are really basic. When we were kids my Mom could stretch a pound of hamburger four ways past Sunday and we ate well.

I find it too bad that the limited budgets in the US school systems require they drop many non-academic classes that offer life building and important skills that are often not learned at home.

Ahhh....the chocolate cake awaits!

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Parents teaching the kids is all well and good if the parents can cook. My DH's mother is a terrible cook. He learned to cook at school. Was the only place for him to learn...

It can go either way, I think- my single mother would burn just about anything she put in a pan, and worked through dinner time. I taught myself to cook at a very young age because I was on my own for meals most of the time.

My half sisters were raised by my stepmom who is just about the most wonderful home cook I've ever met. Neither of them can so much as boil water because they've never actually had to cook anything.

A lot of it has to do with motivation- if you want to learn how to cook and eat better, you will. You don't necessarily need classes or a parent's instruction to do so, although it can definitely help (especially with inspiring the motivation in the first place).

As far as I know, both the middle schools and the high schools around here still offer cooking classes ( high school has beginning, intermediate and advanced class). We also had a required health class that went into depth on food and nutrition.

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dee-I: I think you are completely right. It is a motivation issue. I and my brother learned to cook (and well I might add) because my mother was not that great a cook. If I got to eat I might as well enjoy the experience so I learned.

My other 2 siblings on the other hand are not in the least bit motivated and are content to eat mac and cheese from the box day after day if they can not order out.

Its motivation and you can only teach that at a vary young age (in my opinion) so by high school trying to teach that would be useless.

Those of us who want to do better simply do and try. Those that don?t...well they don?t.

Grace

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I'm only 22 so my opinion may not have much substance, but anyways... I think that classes should at least be offered. I went to a very small high school (less than 50 when I graduated) and I would have loved to have taken some sort of home ec type class. I love to cook, and I can bake, but I would have liked to have learned some more basic sewing type skills. My mom can manage basic cooking, but it was my dad that I have some great childhood memories cooking with. I do not believe that the class should be mandatory but the option should be their.

As far as cooking being easy and anyone who can read should be able to cook.I really do not think is a fair assumption. I love to cook and I don't feel that it is difficult. However my sister on the other hand has a difficult time with and she does try to cook. But she can mess up boxed type meals. And she does read the instructions. I do believe that cooking does take some amount of skill and teaching it is more effective than trying to read directions. I have been making the effort to show her how to make basic meals, but no matter how much she may try she still has issues with it. Some people just can't put words into actions, they have to see it done, their visual type learners.

Just my opinion ~Racing07

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Maybe not required, but sure would be nice.

Not only did I have to learn to cook in school I had to learn to sew, in home economics and it was required. It was a brief class just covering the basics, but it did spark my interest in the subjects and had me turning to my mom and grandmother to teach me more. For graduating from highschool I recieved my very own sewing machine.

This class prepared me for life, more so then geometry ever did. My kids are all grown up now my daughter took lessons from me on how to cook, my son I could never get in the kitchen. He can run a mean microwave :rolleye0014: He however wishes he had taken classes to better prepare him for the real life. I have left the offer open to teach him...but he always says no thanks. So in his case a cooking class would have been a blessing.

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I was signed up for a cooking class in 7th grade. As soon as I could I switched it for an art class. Why take a class that gave lessons in things I already knew and the only interesting thing was Zelda catching one of the kitchens on fire while the teacher was throwing up in a nearby bathroom. :rolleye0014:

In our local high schools, they teach "Block Classes" where the kids attend three classes a day, that are an hour and forty-five minutes long. Parents pay to send their kids to driving schools. Taught by the people who used to be teachers and were laid off when the schools dropped the programs.

Mechanics, drafting, art and music are taught at Charter Schools who have a different set of guidelines. Parents of charter schooled kids are required to donate time and money for school programs.

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Back in the old days when I was in high school I took Home Economis....I loved it. The class was more than just cooking and sewing...it taught nutrition, budgeting, organization, cleanliness and teamwork. Good class and I hope some schools still offer it. I know the boys used to take it just to goof off but some of them really got into it!

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oh. that's nice to hear. i had the impression they had been dropped some time ago. thank you.

Yes, at least that's how it was at my school. I don't know if others are different, but I remember having the presidential fitness tests up until at least 9th or 10th grade, when the last required gym classes were taken.

BTW, I have some yummy smelling banana bread coming out of the oven in about 15 minutes if anybody would like some. :flirt: I'm trying a new recipe from allrecipes.com. :happy0203:

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A hundred years ago, when I was in Jr. High, home ec, as it was called then, was a required course for GIRLS because, as everyone knew, we were going to grow up to be wives and moms and stay home to take care of the kids and hubby. Boys were required to take science because they were all going to grow up to be doctors and engineers and captains of industry to take care of us lil' women. :rotf: So if it was required back then, why is requiring it now suddenly some sort of government conspiracy to take authority away from parent. My daughter is taking "Life Skills" next year as an elective.

BTW, I took Foods and Nutrition in college because I needed an elective and we got a break from cafeteria food. Loved the class and we whomped up some really delicious meals. I still have my recipe file from the class and still use some of the recipes.

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